Mississippi Inmate Firefighter Dies In House Fire

PARCHMAN - Michael Davenport was brought to Sunflower County for taking a life. This morning he died while trying to save some.

Davenport, a 40-year-old inmate serving a life sentence in the Mississippi State Penitentiary for homicide, died last night while battling a house fire off of Highway 32 in Sunflower County. He was a member of the prison's inmate volunteer fire department.

Mississippi Department of Corrections officials confirmed this morning that a call was received reporting the fire at 11:52 p.m. Wednesday and Davenport was pronounced dead at 3:26 a.m. Although few details were available by press time, Davenport is believed to have died of smoke inhalation.

Sunflower County Coroner Doug Card said Davenport died while inside the home.

"The house was a split level house and he was up on the top level," Card said. "Apparently while he was up there in all of the smoke he got disoriented and couldn't get out."

Card said the residence was approximately two miles from the gate of the prison, but he did not know who owned the home. Card said all occupants of the home were able to escape safely.

Three inmates are reported to have responded to the fire.

Inmate Gary Lambert suffered a broken leg after falling off of a ladder while fighting the fire. Lambert, 47, is serving a life sentence for homicide. He was convicted in Covington County and has been serving time since 1983. He is being treated at the Sunflower County Hospital.

Sunflower County Sheriff James Haywood was in court this morning and unavailable for comment.