An investigation into the fire that destroyed the Gamble Brothers & Archer Clinic this weekend is underway. However, heavy rainfall in the region could impact the development of the investigation.
“The excess rain has impeded the progress of the investigation,” Greenville Fire Department Chief Ruben Brown said Monday afternoon.
Much of what the investigation crew does involves digging and reconstructing the scene, Brown said.
“Aside from that, they can’t exactly go in and do much physical work,” Brown added.
Despite weather conditions, Brown said the investigation crew always immediately begins the process of interviewing witnesses and looking for any camera footage from the area such as the nearby nursing home and King’s Daughters Hospital.
“The weather definitely is causing some challenges for them to really do what they need to do physically,” Brown reiterated.
The fire broke out between 9:45 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday.
“Once we got on the scene, there were initially six companies that responded to that location and once on scene, heavy fire and smoke were coming from the building,” Brown said. “Over a course of minutes, we made an interior attack to extinguish the fire.”
Brown explained the original part of the old building was a challenge to extinguish due to the different levels of roofing, which attributed to the fire spreading rather quickly.
There were no lives lost or major injuries as a result of the fire.
During the battle to extinguish the flames, Brown said one of the mechanical trucks malfunctioned, causing some firefighters to seek medical attention.
“In the process of fighting the fires, one of the ladder trucks had a mechanical malfunction,” Brown said, noting he and three others on the ladder at the time it happened.
Two firefighters were in the firetruck bucket and the other was at the base with Brown.
Brown described the malfunction as something of a “runaway train” as the ladder was moving clockwise at a high rate of speed and smashed into an energized power line.
“Two of the personnel in the bucket were transported to Delta Regional Medical Center for medical attention,” he said, noting both have since been released.
Delta Regional Medical Center (DRMC) CEO Scott Christensen in a press release Monday said he and his team are saddened to see the fire and loss of the Gamble Brothers & Archer Clinic, which was a location for several Delta Medical Group providers.
“Due to this tragedy, the leadership team has been diligently working to transition clinics to other spaces to continue serving the community. On behalf of DRMC, I would like to take this time to say how sorry we are to the Gamble Brothers & Archer clinic providers and staff who have put their heart and soul into this Greenville institution,” Christensen said.
Christensen in the press release said DRMC’s goal is to be of assistance to all the providers that have been affected and assured that patients remain their number one priority.
“We would also like to extend our thanks to all first responders and others in the community who offered support. DRMC staff is forever grateful,” Christensen said.
In order to ensure patients’ medical needs are met, Delta Medical Group is setting up a temporary option while it has already begun the process for a more permanent solution.
Patients of Dr. Barbara Ricks, Dr. Deepall Kale, Patti Hemphill, CFNP, Barbara Adams, CFNP and Bridget Satterfield, CFNP who have any immediate needs or appointments should go to the King’s Daughters Hospital main entrance, across the street from the clinic, located at 305 S. Washington St.
Temporary clinic space is available and patients will be directed to their appointments. There will be representatives onsite to help answer additional at the appointments.
To speak with a representative, patients should call 662-344-9100 to reschedule their appointments or provide additional answers.
History of Gamble Brothers & Archer Clinic
The Gamble Brothers & Archer Clinic was so much more than just a clinic — it was a healthcare beacon with a history rich in medical and surgical innovations as well as cultural contributions dating back to 1915.
Dr. Hugh Gamble II, Thoracic Surgery specialist and grandson of the elder Dr. Hugh Agnew Gamble, FACS who bears the clinic’s name sake, reflected on his childhood and early memories of the clinic.
Gamble II said personally, for him, “it’s a severe loss.”
“I grew up in that building visiting my grandfather and father … I spent time in their office when I’d get out of school and instead of walking home, I walked to the clinic,” he said.
According to Gamble II, the real name of the building was “Medical Arts Building,” a little known fact.
He also said back in “those days,” doctors typically went to medical school and became general practitioners.
“They were the first two in this area who had actually done specialty training in surgery medical school,” Gamble II said of his grandfather and great-uncle, Paul Gamble.
“They brought in Dr. Archer, who was the first person in this area who had finished medical school and then did specialty training in internal medicine,” he said.
Archer was interesting in another way, Gamble II said, as back in the 1700s, the first graduate of an American medical school was named John Archer — a great ancestor of Archer who graduated from the University of Philadelphia as the first American medical school graduate.
The previous Gamble Brothers office had been located downtown like many others during that time Gamble II explained, and was upstairs over a mercantile store, which was inconvenient for patients because they had to climb those stairs.
Gamble II highlighted the many “firsts” Gamble Brothers & Archer Clinic played a key role in which include practicing in one of the first dedicated medical practice to multiple specialties, hiring the first pathologist in Greenville, the first radiologist and operating the first radiation therapy unit in the Greenville area.
He recalled how the clinic housed a drugstore, pharmacy and even a grill where patrons and staff dined.
In an article published on the “Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons,” Michael Trotter, MD, FACS in wrote great detail about the elder Dr. Gamble’s legacy as an original Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).
Trotter expounded on Dr. Gamble’s education and early career, an important friendship, innovation, hospital care and “his full measure.”
He said in the nationally and internationally published article, “It is perhaps an unlikely place for surgical success and medical innovation,” referring to the Delta. “However, Hugh Agnew Gamble, MD, FACS, who lived and worked in the Delta, became a nationally known surgeon who crossed racial boundaries in the Jim Crow south to provide all patients with high-quality surgical care.”
Dr. Gamble’s father, William Gaston MD, attended what is now Tulane University Medical School and formerly the University of Louisiana Medical Department, graduating in 1860.
According to Trotter’s article, William Gamble served in the Civil War as an infantry private before he was confirmed as an assistant surgeon in the Confederate States Army in 1863.
He practiced medicine in Saltillo before settling Guntown in 1892. He and wife, Iva, had seven children — “two of whom, Hugh and Paul, became physicians,” Trotter wrote.
In highlighting the early education and career of Dr. Gamble’s life, Trotter wrote he was educated locally in public schools and then graduated from Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Mississippi State University, Starkville in 1898.
Dr. Gamble did several internships and completed coursework at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Tulane University School of Medicine.
Trotter’s article notes Dr. Gamble trained under the renowned surgeon Rudolph Matas, MD, FACS, who is legendarily known as the “father of modern vascular surgery.”
In 1915, Dr. Gamble founded what would become a multi-specialty clinic, the Gamble Brothers Clinic.
“Dr. Gamble provided surgical and gynecological care, and his brother Paul handled urologic cases,” Trotter’s article said.
In addition, Trotter notes Dr. Gamble maintained a longstanding interest in abdominal wound infection following contaminated surgery.
“Dr. Gamble successfully repaired arterial aneurysms (traumatic and syphilitic) before the advent of heparin,” Trotter wrote.
Not only that, Trotter wrote Dr. Gamble also had a lifelong interest in agriculture and farming.
Both Trotter and grandson, Dr. Hugh Gamble II, talked about his agricultural endeavors and pointed out the elder Gamble’s contribution in inventing the first mechanical cotton picker, formally called the Berry-Gamble Mechanical Cotton Picker.
According to Trotter’s article, starting in 1922, Dr. Gamble financed the development of a mechanical cotton picker with local Greenville mechanic H. N. Berry and his son Charles … the endeavor continued over the next 30 years and produced more than 30 patents and is on display at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum in Jackson.
“Dr. Gamble was instrumental in developing the Colored King’s Daughters Hospital in Greenville. As the only existing hospital in the city prior to 1953, King’s Daughter’s Hospital did not admit African-American patients,” Trotter wrote.
His efforts in rendering services and addressing the needs of the Colored King’s Daughters Hospital were notable.
Trotter wrote Dr. Gamble personally provided funding to the hospital and recruited the services of colleagues to provide care for the patients.
Much more than a rural community surgeon, Dr. Gamble served as Greenville City councilman for 13 years and was an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, according to Trotter’s article. He died of renal cancer in 1954 at age 77.