Fire at Miss. Building Sends Chief to Burn Center

July 7, 2013
Palmetto Assistant Chief Wally Bruce was transported to the burn center after battling a fire in Palmetto.

July 06--An early morning fire at the former Malone's Fish and Steak House on the Lee-Pontotoc county line gutted the building and left one firefighter injured Friday.

An E-911 call was received Friday at 2:44 a.m., and the Palmetto Volunteer Fire Department was the first on the scene.

Lee County authorities say five or six departments were eventually called in to fight the blaze.

The injured firefighter was Wally Bruce, assistant chief of the Palmetto Volunteer Fire Department. He was transported to North Mississippi Medical Center and later to a burn center in Jackson, according to Lee County 911 Coordinator Paul Harkins.

According to Palmetto Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bobby Briley, Bruce was scheduled to receive a skin graft surgery Friday evening.

"If all goes well, he might get to come home (Saturday), but we'll see how it goes," Briley said.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but Lee County investigators will make a determination sometime this weekend.

The popular restaurant closed nearly four years ago, and this is at least the second time the building has burned, according to Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.

"The building needs to cool down before we can get back out there and find a cause," said Johnson. "If there was a criminal act like arson, we will pursue further action. Right now, it's just too soon to say."

Officials say the fire was under control by 5 a.m.

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Copyright 2013 - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo

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