Fire ravages Bogalusa businesses, causes more than $2 million in damages

Published 1:28 pm Saturday, February 8, 2014

An early morning fire spread rapidly Saturday, leaving several buildings damaged or destroyed in a city block between Georgia and Alabama avenues and Memphis Street.

Louisiana State Fire Marshal Chief Butch Browning said the fire, which started just before 7 a.m., caused more than $2 million in damages.

Bogalusa Fire Chief Richard Moody, who was in the midst of it all Saturday morning, said the goal at that point was to save the buildings that had not already been destroyed.

Those that housed Adams Electrical and Mechanical Contractors, Barber’s Auto and Paint Supply Co., Economy Tire and the two-story former Landry’s Restaurant site were already largely gone. Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home, which has a little more distance between it and the other structures, managed to survive with only melted siding.

Firefighters sprayed water continually on the funeral home and other walls, trying to contain the fire.

Browning said the fire started at the auto and paint store on Alabama Avenue. When firefighters arrived, that building was fully engulfed in flames.

Moody said it was his understanding some Bogalusa firefighters just happened to walk outside the fire station, located just up the street next to City Hall, and saw the smoke. They responded and called in Washington Parish Fire Districts 6 and 7, plus volunteers, for assistance.

Two firefighters were reportedly hurt in the fire. One was overcome with exhaustion and the other suffered a leg injury, Moody said.

Moody said the fire was difficult to fight because of the close proximity of the buildings, which also caused it to spread quickly. The old age of some of the structures also added to the difficulties, he said.

Browning said four buildings were destroyed and two others sustained exterior damage.

The Fire Marshal’s office will continue its investigation into the cause of the fire through Sunday, Browning said.