BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Firefighters spent much of the day on the scene of a two-alarm fire that destroyed a popular Baton Rouge bar and spread to other businesses.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department said the Timeout Lounge on Old Hammond Highway caught fire around 5 a.m. Officials said a passerby saw the fire and called to report it.
Curt Monte with BRFD said crews arrived at the scene and saw the rear of the bar on fire. He added the firefighters quickly realized how bad the fire was and immediately called for the second alarm. The fire then spread to other nearby businesses in the strip mall where it is located, including Planet Beach tanning salon, The Jambalaya Shoppe and Wild Things.
Three ladder trucks sprayed the fire to get it under control. Monte said a firefighter was taken to the hospital with burns to the back of his neck. A woman living in the nearby apartment complex was treated for smoke inhalation. The injuries are not considered life-threatening.
The bar is located next to an Entergy substation. Monte said there were initial concerns about the fire reaching the substation, but crews were able to get the flames under control. Monte added the wind worked in their favor with keeping the fire away from the substation.
Six apartments were attached to the rear of the building and were also destroyed. The families living there woke up to frantic knocks on their doors.
"My friend actually came beating on the door and within 3 minutes we got all our stuff. I grabbed the wrong pants for my girl and everything was gone within 3 minutes," said Kris House. House lost his brother in a house fire in McComb, Mississippi only two weeks ago.
"All my paintings, everything. There's so much stuff gone. My car keys are burnt up so now it's just one day at a time," House said. "Got to get back to tattooing. That's the only thing that keeps me going." House was in the process of re-opening a tattoo shop in the strip mall.
Tonja James lived next door to House.
"You could see the fire coming out the bar's roof and then we just grabbed ourselves and left out the apartments. Every family has lost everything. We have nothing," James said.
"Thank God we made it out, but you can't replace pictures of a brother that's dead. You can't replace some things. It's hard."
The American Red Cross dispatched volunteers to assist the displaced families.
"Right now it's really about their immediate needs. Getting them some comfort, getting them some blankets out here, making sure they're taken care of in these early stages, and then we'll move into what do they need going forward," said Red Cross spokeswoman Nancy Malone.
Donations can be dropped off at the local Red Cross office on Sherwood Common Boulevard. Donations can also be made online at redcross.org.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and is currently still being investigated.