‘A tremendous loss’: Historic Yazoo City home burns along with three others

Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 11:08 PM CST
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YAZOO CITY, Miss. (WLBT) - The owners of the historic Parker-Roark home bought it from Elaine Roark two months ago. They had seen it on a Facebook page for historic homes just after it was put on the market.

“And she said, ‘I’ve just got to have that house,’ and so they bought the house,” said Roark. “They never came to look at it, they bought it almost sight unseen, and they were so excited to live here. My heart breaks for them, it really breaks for them. Because it’s gone.”

The fire that claimed the Parker-Roark house also destroyed or damaged three others. Cynthia Johnson Walker saw the home next to the historic house, one neighbors referred to as “the bed and breakfast,” full of smoke before the blaze broke out.

“Only one house was burning and as people started to gather we started screaming asking them to water down what is called the Parker-Roark House, those of us who were born and raised in Yazoo know that house,” said Johnson Walker, who is a member of the historical society.

On the other side was Tchula Police Chief Kenneth Hampton’s home. It took some damage to the back side, he said.

“But everybody’s safe, nobody got hurt, everyone can go to sleep at night, probably not in the same house they woke up in this morning,” Hampton said. “But definitely everybody’s okay.”

Constable Eddie Smith lives around the corner in the historic district as well. He said he saw the smoke from a distance before he heard over the radio that the house was fully involved.

“This is going to devastate Yazoo City and Yazoo County,” Smith said.

One concern of many residents is that there was a fire hydrant right across the street from the burning homes, but firefighters were not able to get water out of it. They ended up connecting to a hydrant one street over and one downhill from the location of the fires.

“This is a tremendous loss for our community. This kind of history can not be restored and replaced,” Johnson Walker said.

Roark said at this time of year when she lived in the home she always put up between seven and nine Christmas trees there, each decorated differently and in different rooms. She said anyone who wanted to come by to see them was welcome.

She’s glad she has the memories, but it’s heartbreaking at the same time, she said. And her reaction to the news of the fire was twofold.

“I was sad because I loved it and I had so many memories there but I was sad for Yazoo City, because it really was a treasure, and because nobody will build one back like that,” she said.

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