1. #1
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    Unhappy Tchula, Mississippi- Six Children dead

    TCHULA, Miss. (AP) - This Mississippi Delta town grieved Sunday
    for six children who died in a mobile home fire, and the mayor
    pleaded for assistance to improve housing conditions and lift the
    town out of dire poverty.
    A memorial service was held Sunday afternoon near the charred
    frame of the mobile home recently rented by Angela Williams for her
    family. Three of her four children and her sister's three children
    died from apparent smoke inhalation in the Saturday morning fire.
    Williams' infant daughter was hospitalized.
    "There is a reason this happened," said the Rev. Tom Collins
    at a nearby church. "We need to grow together, we need to embrace
    one another in this community."
    A line of firefighters and police placed three flowered wreaths
    beside the charred frame of a mobile home where about 50 people
    were gathered.
    The trailer had no utilities; authorities said a candle used for
    light in the home likely caused the blaze.
    Tchula, with about 2,300 residents, sits in Holmes County about
    75 miles north of Jackson in the southern rim of the Mississippi
    Delta. The county is the poorest in the state, with a median
    household income of $17,031, according to the 2000 Census.
    Mississippi is the second-poorest state behind West Virginia.
    Mayor Yvonne Brown said the unemployment rate hovers at 25
    percent. At least 50 percent of the 800 homes in the town are
    substandard, she said. Half of the total are mobile homes, many
    tattered and torn.
    Brown said she is appealing to the public, Mississippi's
    senators and President Bush to route money for housing improvements
    to the town.
    "They need to come and see where this tragedy took place and
    see this Third World. This is our Third World," said Brown, one of
    the few black Republican mayors in Mississippi. "I know we're
    spending a billion dollars a day in Afghanistan, surely we can
    raise $2 million to provide adequate housing in Tchula."
    Brown said Tchula was recently denied a $350,000 housing grant
    by the Mississippi Development Authority that could have improved
    six houses. She said four or five other homes in her town are
    without utilities.
    The children were home alone when the fire started, police said.
    Sharkey Ford, the town's police and fire chief, declined to say
    Sunday whether Williams or her sister, Carolyn, would face criminal
    charges.
    Carolyn Williams, surrounded by family members, could manage
    only a few words Sunday.
    "I don't want to think about it. I don't want to dwell on it,"
    she said. "They were home alone ... home alone."
    Brown said charges should not be filed against the mothers.
    "As a mother and a grandmother, I cannot begin to even touch
    the pain that these moms are going through," Browns said. "We
    cannot string these moms up.
    "If someone has never erred in their decision or judgment
    before let them cast those stones, but I'm not going to do that.
    I'm going to support these moms."
    She said grief counselors were sent to Tchula.
    Killed in the fire were Anita Williams, 12, Latonya Monique
    Banks, 10, and Tonisha Williams, 8, - the children of Carolyn
    Williams. Also killed were three of Angela Williams' children:
    Samantha, 8, Sammie Earl, 5, and Aliyoh, 3.
    The only survivor, 4-month-old Takalay, was in good condition
    Sunday. Rescuers resuscitated the girl at the scene of the fire.
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  2. #2
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    Post Followup

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The owner of a mobile home that caught
    fire and killed six children over the weekend said the family had
    moved in sooner than they were supposed to.
    Anthony Mansoor said Tuesday that Angela Williams, mother of
    three of the victims in Saturday's blaze, had paid a security
    deposit but was not supposed to move in until he had made repairs
    and provided hookups for water, electricity and heat.
    "She didn't pay any rent, she hadn't had the utilities turned
    on, she hadn't had anything done," Monsoor said.
    Mansoor said a contractor had given Williams the key so that she
    could put some of her belongings in the mobile home.
    Authorities said no adults were in the mobile home when the fire
    occurred. The six victims ranged in age from 3 to 12 years old.
    Another child, a 4-month-old girl, survived and was hospitalized
    Tuesday in good condition.
    William's sister, Carolyn Williams, was the mother of three of
    the children.
    Mayor Yvonne Brown said Tuesday that Angela Williams and other
    family members had declined to comment to what Brown called
    Mansoor's "derogatory remarks."
    Brown said Saturday's killer blaze was the second fire at a
    trailer owned by Mansoor since she took office last July.
    Mansoor said while there have been fires at his properties
    before, there were no injuries associated with them.
    Authorities have said it appears a candle started the fire. An
    investigation in the case is continuing.
    State Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Millard Mackey said his
    investigation is looking into whether the mobile home met health
    and safety requirements.
    All manufactured homes built after 1976 are required to meet
    certain federal safety standards, including smoke detectors, Mackey
    said.
    He said there apparently was a smoke detector in the trailer,
    but it did not work because it was electrically powered.
    "We've got to determine why the power was not hooked up to the
    house," Mackey said.
    District Attorney James Powell said he was waiting to find out
    where Angela and Carolyn Williams were at the time of the fire.
    Powell said Tuesday he saw no difference in the mobile home
    deaths "and someone leaving small children in a car and it's 100
    degrees and they suffocate to death."
    Powell said if the children were left alone, he would likely
    file manslaughter charges - based on culpable negligence - against
    "whoever was in a position of responsibility for the care of those
    babies."
    "I don't know at this point who that may or may not be," he
    said.
    Powell said if the fire marshal's investigation finds that the
    housing was substandard, he'd have to review housing laws to
    determine if charges against the landlord would be appropriate.
    Police Chief Sharkey Ford would not release details of his
    investigation Tuesday or speculate on what action his department
    might take.
    "The only thing we're doing right now is finding out from
    witnesses what happened," he said. "We're not making any
    decisions about any charges."
    Ford said the investigation would likely be wrapped up within a
    week.


    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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