Massive fire destroys much of Addis landmark

ADDIS, LA (WAFB) - A downtown landmark in the Town of Addis is gone after nearly half a century.  Fire tore through the "Mad Hog Saloon" Sunday night, just minutes after closing.

"A lot of flames everywhere you looks the whole building was involved," said Fire Chief Mike Alleman.  "The roof had already collapsed."

The fire began around 11 p.m. Sunday.  Less than an hour before, bar owner Larry Dearman says his place was packed with people watching the Super Bowl and celebrating the establishment's one year anniversary.

"Turn the lights off, me and bar tender left, and I got a call a couple of hours later saying it was burned down," said Dearman.

Word spread just as quickly as the flames.  Lifelong Addis resident Eddie Rinaudo was shocked, as were a lot of people.

"You can see the looks on people's faces, they can't believe it," said Rinaudo.

Rinaudo is a drummer in the band Fandango, which played at the bar.

"I talked to a couple of my buddies this morning and everybody is in disbelief. They're like, 'No. Really? No,'" said Rinaudo.

The charred building isn't just a biker bar to the people of Addis, it's one of the only businesses downtown.  Owner Walter Cain bought it in the 1990's and opened what became the popular "Addis Cafe."

"I didn't know what to expect. When I pulled out of my driveway ... I knew it was bad. It was gone," said Cain.

A piece of history disappeared too.  The landmark was home to Caldwell's Grocery in the 1960's.  The storefront was a popular Mardi Gras parade watch spot, and held on to the hearts of folks as the owner transformed the building into a motorcycle shop he named "Big Twin Thunder."

Cain is now faced with reviving the rare gem that holds a rare piece of the town's polished history.

"Addis is a little small town and we are proud of Addis... We'll eventually do something else," said Cain.

Only time will tell.

No one was hurt in the fire.

Alleman says it appears the fire started in the kitchen.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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