Massive fire destroys building, closes Florida Blvd in...
DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (FOX44) -
Two businesses in Denham Springs are nothing but rubble and ashes.
A massive fire erupted in the 300-block of Florida Avenue around noon destroying a local hair salon and medical supply store.
FOX44’s Talia Samelian says the flames are gone now but there's still an overwhelming smell of burning wood.
You can see the ash hanging in the air--almost like mist.
It's hard to breathe but even harder to imagine the loss and devastation these business owners are going through.
It all happened around 10:45 this morning when two employees at the Magnolia Respiratory And Medical Equipment store saw smoke seeping out of the air vents.
They immediately ran out of the building. Both women were too shaken up to speak on camera.
Les Smith and his wife, who have owned Magnolia Medical for the past decade, are devasted.
"I would say empty. Empty right now. We have a lot of memories I would say in that building," Smith tells FOX44 News.
He says that he and his wife are, "Just basically in shock. One minute it's here, the next it's gone. We'll just go forward from here and rebuild."
Denham Springs Fire Chief Melvin Wheat says right now they don't know what caused the fire.
He adds that five different fire departments are now investigating the cause of the fire.
Fire Chief Wheat says it’s very lucky that no one was hurt considering what was insidie: "The building had numerous O2 bottles in it, oxygen bottles. We got a lot of those out before but I think 4 or 5 of those exploded during the fire. Then we finally got that back end out enough that we could get in and get the rest of those bottles out."
Harold Davidson and Gene Delozier co-own the business complex that went up in flames.
Davidson says he hasn't had a moment to fully grasp what's happening, but that right now they’re just focusing on being there for their tenants.
"I don't even know where to start. I've never had a fire so I really don't know...just have to decide whether to rebuild or not. I feel sorry for the tenants and I feel sorry for the adjoining property owners. They had to close two restaurants around us and evacuate the church," he tells FOX44 News.
Gene Delozier says, "You know, I just can't believe it. You know, we've had the building and we try and update it and keep everything nice and it's a disaster for our tenants. We're concerned about our tenants."
Firefighters are still combing through the scene to figure out what started the fire.
Photos courtesy of Central Fire Department
View of fire from Range Avenue around 12:15 p.m.
View of fire from Range Avenue around 11:45 a.m.
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