Police & Fire

Arkadelphia house fire leaves 1 dead

An Arkadelphia man died Thursday morning in a house fire downtown.

The Arkadelphia Fire Department was dispatched at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 6, 2023, to a duplex on South 4th Street, located on the block just south of the Clark County Courthouse. Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke pouring from all sides of the multi-family duplex.

“Search teams were able to quickly remove one victim and several animals from the duplex,” Arkadelphia Fire Chief Jason Hunt said. “Units were successfully able to extinguish the fire before it spread to adjacent properties.”

James Matthew Shipman, 59, who resided at 505 S. 4th St., died in the home. He was a maintenance worker at Holiday Inn in Caddo Valley.

There were no other residents inside the duplex at the time of the fire, Hunt added.

Firemen were able to rescue the pets from the duplex. One of them, a cat, received medical attention by Baptist Health Medical Center paramedics. The feline was carried in a makeshift gurney from the home to the Crittenden Street side of the courthouse and spent several minutes inside an ambulance before it was released into a kennel and carried back to a caretaker.

Other animals rescued from the home did not appear to require medical attention.

Firefighters were on scene for just under two hours.

The cause of the house fire remains under investigation, Hunt said.

Arkadelphia firefighters at the scene of Thursday morning’s house fire. | Joel Phelps/The Arkadelphian
Firefighters work inside and outside the home at 505 S. 4th St. | Joel Phelps/The Arkadelphian
Firefighters place a cat inside a pet crate after it had received medical attention. | Joel Phelps/The Arkadelphian