Four-alarm fire razes business, storage buildings and home in downtown Plaquemine

Staff Report

A four-alarm fire Sunday in downtown Plaquemine destroyed a thrift store, three storage buildings and a residential home, according to Plaquemine Fire Chief Darren Ramirez.

Firefighters work to put out a blaze that destroyed three structures on Railroad Avenue between Meriam and Haase streets Sunday afternoon.

The fire occurred along a block on the east side of Railroad Avenue between Haase and Meriam streets. It razed the Big Deal Thrift Store and the storage buildings behind it, as well as an adjacent home.

Damages totaled between $750,000 and $1 million, Ramirez said.

No injuries were reported.

Firefighters got the call about 3:50 p.m. and left the scene just before midnight.

The store owner lived right behind the shop. The owner, along with his daughter and grandson, were able to escape before the flames overcame them, Ramirez said.

It took firefighters nearly eight hours to extinguish the four-alarm fire Sunday in Plaquemine. No injuries were reported, Fire Chief Darren Ramirez said.

The blaze spared the building that once housed Plaquemine Video Library and – for many years before that – Gascon’s Record Shop and an adjacent insurance agency.

The Plaquemine Fire Department summoned the Office of the State Fire Marshal to the scene for the investigation, which ultimately determined that a dryer started the blaze, Ramirez said.

The Plaquemine Fire Department sought help from White Castle, West Baton Rouge, City of Baton Rouge and St. George to extinguish the blaze.

No cases of smoke inhalation occurred, Ramirez said.

The lack of available firefighters made the fire much more difficult to put out, the fire chief said.

“Volunteer firefighting is a dying breed,” he said. “We don’t have the manpower we used to have.”