Fire disaster won't stop Neshoba County Fair

By Mike McDaniel - email

NESHOBA COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - Fire raced through more than a dozen cabins at the historic Neshoba County Fairgrounds Monday. But it could have been even worse.

In a place known for its fiery political speeches, a fire of another sort, a more literal one, kicked up, and all cabin owner Kevin Warren and his family could do was watch.

"We're kind of still stunned," he said.

Their 20-year-old three-story cabin went up in flames.

"You can tell there was one story still about there. It was about on the ground," he said.

The flames ripped through at least 15 cabins in the so-called "new" section before firefighters could stop them, leaving nothing but memories left behind for folks who call this place their home away from home.

"You can leave stuff on your porches or whatever, nobody gone bother anything, just family I guess," Warren said.

Firefighters were on the scene for hours making sure the flames didn't spread to other cabins which are less than a few feet away.

"The fire departments that responded out here did one heck of a job: They knocked down the fire and consequently we didn't lose more cabins than we did, because according to what I've been able to find out, we could have lost a lot more than just 15," said Keith Montgomery from the state fire marshal's office.

With less than two months to go before this fair kicks off, the folks who lived inside those cabins say they're not going to let a little fire smoke out tradition.

Most of the cabins are only occupied during the fair, which is set for late July, and since the grounds are currently closed, fire investigators say there weren't very many people in danger.

Now, folks like Kevin Warren will have to start again, keeping a family tradition alive.

"We're going to build back regardless," Warren said. "There's nothing like the Neshoba County fair."

The cause of the fire won't be determined officially until Tuesday morning, since investigators have to wait for the site to cool off.

The fair itself will go on as scheduled.