Headlines – 12/26/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 26, 2003

Panolian Headlines: December 26, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 12/26/03  issue of The Panolian

Triple Fatality Fire Cause Probe
    Continues Today
Dad hurt in rescue try
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

The cause of a holiday season tragedy that claimed the lives of three Como youngsters in a blaze remains under investigation today.

The fire broke out during the early morning hours Sunday leaving children dead and their father injured.

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According to Gerald White of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department, who along with Deputy State Fire Marshall Chuck Moore is investigating the cause, a call came into dispatchers around 3 a.m. reporting a trailer fire on Parks Place Road.

"All that is known at this point is that the family of eight was in the home asleep when the fire started," White said. "The cause of the fire is still under investigation."

The three children, Ellis Thompson III, 2; Jevarous Thompson, 3; and Quanaleshia Thompson, 7, were pronounced dead at the scene by Panola County Coroner Donna Stevens.

Ellis Thompson Jr., was taken to Tri-Lakes Medical Center where he was treated for burns and smoke inhalation he suffered while rescuing two of the three surviving children. He was released from the hospital on Tuesday and is at home recovering.

Ellis Jr., wife Star and children Elliot, Ratsille and Iciey, survived the fire that also took the family’s home.

"I can tell you that the home was a total loss," Sardis Fire Chief Bo Holloway said.

The funeral for the children was scheduled to have been Wednesday at the Pleasant Green M.B. Church in Sardis. Robinson and Son Funeral Home of Grenada had charge of the arrangements.

An account has been set up at First Security Bank in Sardis to help the family with funeral expenses and other expenses incurred while getting another home.

Anyone interested in making a donation should contact First Security Bank at 487-1661.

Those wishing to offer other assistance can contact Rhonda Jones, Area Social Work Supervisor at the Panola County Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children’s Services in Sardis at 487-2098. If you are phoning during the holidays (after noon Wednesday through Dec. 29 at 8 a.m.) contact dispatch at the sheriff’s department at 563-6230.

Clothing sizes for the family are as follows:
– Elliot (age 1) size 2T, shoe size 5 1/2
– Ratsille (age 4) size 4-5T, shoe size 10
– Iciey (age 6) size 5-6, shoe size 11
– Star (mother) size 8-10 ladies pants, small ladies shirts and shoes 9 1/2 ladies
– Ellis (father) size 32×34 pants, large shirts, shoes 11 1/2 -12 men’s.

Flu Epidemic Still at Bay Here
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

The flu epidemic sweeping the nation has not become a major threat in Panola County.

According to Dr. Alfio Rausa, District Health officer for District 1 (which includes Panola County), said the only way of tracking the flu is for doctors to call in cases to the district office.

"At this time, while the flu has been a big threat in other parts of the state and country, it is not a big problem in this area," he said.

Rausa said approximately 17 percent of people going to the doctor have reported flu-like symptoms.

"That is less than one person out of every five," he said. "That does not mean we won’t see bigger numbers, but it is good for now."


Supporters: Club move would spark growth
By Kate B. Dickson

Moving the Boys and Girls Club from its Martinez Street location to the National Guard Armory building will allow the organization to offer more activities, serve larger numbers and help racially diversify its membership, supporters of the move say.

Club Director Dennis Hoskins recently asked the City Board for its support in occupying the Armory at 630 Highway 51 South once the Guard moves to its new building on Keating Road.

City Attorney Colmon Mitchell was asked to look into the legalities involved and both Aldermen Bobbie Jean Pounders and Rufus Manley said the city should work to make the move happen "if at all possible."

Hoskins said the same request has also been made of Panola County’s supervisors.

Fireworks Fun
Safety, Law Play Big Part
By Jason C. Mattox
Senior Staff Writer

With Christmas over, Fireworks stands in Panola County are gearing up for big sales, but people buying fireworks should exercise caution with their use.

The Batesville Board of Aldermen follow the guidelines established by the Mississippi State Code.

The code states no retailer, dealer or any other person shall sell, offer for sale or store in their possession, or use or explode anywhere in this state any fireworks that have not been labeled or approved as Class C common fireworks by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

State code also states that no fireworks shall be sold or offered for sale at retail before the fifth day of December or after the second day of January each year.

"State law also says that no fireworks can be sold to children under the age of 12," Panola County Code Enforcement Officer Pam Comer said.

As for where in the city fireworks cannot be set off:

– Within 600 feet of any church, school or hospital;