Vicksburg, Miss. (WJTV) — With 4 fires in the past 18 months, Vicksburg leaders are fed up with problems at the abandoned Whispering Wood Apartment complex. The city condemned the property in 2016.
The latest fire happened Wednesday night. At last check, no charges have been filed and the fire is still under investigation. Chief Charles Atkins says it could be arson or it could be squatters taking shelter in the empty buildings. Mayor George Flaggs says the issue could go to court, “We may have to look at eminent domain to take it. Because what has happened is someone is continuing to go out there and starting these fires or they’re continuing to cost us money to respond to this location which is condemned. So we might have to look at another court action.”
Flaggs says the property owner is aware of the problem. According to Flaggs, “They know what they need to do. They’re trying to find a buyer or someone to come in and develop it. We’ve had people coming to us interested in developing it so we’re trying to help with that.”
Flaggs says the fires are a drain on city resources and Chief Atkins agrees. It’s also dangerous, “Not only for our guys,” says Atkins, “But the environment and putting the public at risk because we have to leave the fire station running a code three to get out to this situation.”
Vicksburg Community Development told WJTV that the current owner has an address in Miami, Florida. The owner did not return calls Thursday requesting an interview or statement.