A fire reported shortly after midnight Tuesday damaged the interior of the building housing the Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention on The University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg campus. Hattiesburg Fire Department personnel extinguished the blaze soon after their arrival at about 12:30 a.m.
Three rooms sustained major damage from the blaze, which began in the center of the building. The entire structure is currently unusable due to fire, smoke and water impact. The cause remains under investigation by the Hattiesburg Fire Department and the State Fire Marshall’s office.
The Shafer Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of sexual violence and survivors of homicide and suicide. Despite the fire, the center continues providing services to its clients. Its emergency hotline, 601.264.7777, is also still available 24 hours a day and is toll-free within 55 miles of Hattiesburg.
“We are communicating with our clients as we work to identify space for individual and group meetings,” said Kim Newell, director of the center.
For more information about the Shafer Center’s services, online visit www.shafercenter.info.