A Port Allen restaurant, gas station and casino were destroyed Sunday afternoon after a two-alarm fire that began in the restaurant’s kitchen brought firefighters from as far as Baton Rouge to assist in its dousing.
Crocket, who was the first firefighter on scene Sunday afternoon, said that upon arrival, smoke was billowing from the back of the building as well as the front door.
“You could see smoke inside of the building starting to roll out of the front door,” he recalled during a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “We called for some assistance when we got there, because this is a big building, and we’re a small volunteer organization.”
Crockett said he initially called on Port Allen Fire Department for assistance, but soon called on Baton Rouge Fire Department as well.
“We called for Baton Rouge to bring a ladder truck, Port Allen had a ladder truck and of course my truck was there using a lot of hand lines and volunteers to extinguish the fire,” he said.
Rick Boudreaux, Port Allen Fire Chief, said that the ladder trucks were used to reach the blaze because the fire couldn’t initially be reached from the ground due to the lack of visibility in the restaurant.
“We were working with about a foot of visibility,” he said. “We couldn’t find our way to the back of the building.”
Crockett said that within an hour, the firefighters had the blaze “under control,” between the three departments and extra called-in assistance from the Erwinville and Rosehill volunteer fire departments.
“And then we stayed for about five hours extinguishing – making sure all the hot spots had been extinguished,” he said, adding that though the shell of the building that houses the restaurant and the gas station remains, the metal roof collapsed within itself. “We would consider that to definitely be a total loss.”
Crockett said that there was extra precautionary procedures taken at the scene due to the extremely close proximity of the fire to the gas station.
“There are procedures that we follow to make sure you talk to those who are there to make sure they cut the power off,” he said. “I called for Entergy to disrupt power to the entire building, and once that’s done, the gas was actually contained within itself in an in-ground tank, so we were good.”
Crockett said he appreciated the help and quick actions of those who assisted in the extinguishing of the fire, including the fire departments, the parish utilities department and the WBR Sheriff’s Office.
“Those guys did a good job and I just want to thank those as well as the other areas especially Baton Rouge, Port Allen and the surrounding fire departments for their help,” he said. “Being volunteers, that meant a lot to us.
“We definitely want to thank all organizations including the sheriff’s office and West Baton Rouge Utilities for their assistance.”
No injuries were reported in the incident.