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Historic Downtown B & B Spared in Fire

Columbus Police and Firemen raced to the corner of 5th St. and 5th Ave. South this morning around 10 a.m. after a outbuilding of a historic Bed & Breakfast caught fire. A storage building adjacent to A Painted Lady Bed & Breakfast on south side Columbus, sending smoke billowing into the morning sky as Columbus Firefighters battled to keep the blaze in check. Within minutes of their arrival firefighters contained the inferno, preventing the flames from reaching the main structure of the home.

Jennifer Upchurch Miller, propreiter of the B&B, watched helplessly as the interior of her storage building burned to ashes. Miller told firemen that the building was insured, but she was saddened that all of the hard work she had out into it was quite possibly lost.According to a website for the home,The home was built in 1890 for T.O. Burris and his wife Dollie. T.O. operated a dry goods store downtown with his brother. He later sold the store and became president of the Tombigbee Cotton Mill. As time passed, the T.O. Burris home fell out of the family and served as a boarding home and a restaurant. Eventually, the home stood empty for many years and fell into a state of disrepair. The home was purchased in 2001 by Jennifer Upchurch Miller who has restored the home to the glory it knew in the Gilded Age.

As Columbus Police and Fire crews were finishing up on scene, several of the men began to look skyward in awe as small pieces of what they described as “sleetish snow” began to rain down on the area. Although the small weather event seem contained to downtown Columbus area, the responnders on scene hoped it was a good sign for a possible white Christmas for Columbus.

Miller could not reached for comment at a listed number before The Packet’s Wednesday evening deadline. The cause of the fire had not been determined as of press time.


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