Volunteers save DeRidder strip mall from going up in flames

By Lee Peck - bio | email

DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - "I was scanning the radio and heard DeRidder get the call," said Firefighter Nick Golien with the Pleasant Hill Volunteer Fire Department.

Golien was on his way home as DeRidder firefighters were responding to a fire at the Family Dollar store on... Street.

"I could tell by their voices it was a pretty serious situation. They immediately asked for district 4 for manpower and water," recalled Golien.

Turning his truck around, Golien was one of the first of many volunteers to arrive on the scene.

"Lots of smoke, DeRidder was already attacking the front. District 4 got here, we got set up our trucks and tanks from the back and started the rear attack," explained Golien.

Some two hours later, firefighters would meet in the middle extinguishing the blaze and preventing it from spreading to the seven other stores in the strip mall.

"The fire walls that are in the attic held in place and through some creative ventilation by the incident commander the fire was contained by that building," said Eric Stacener with DeRidder Fire Department.

But all of the stores would take on smoke damage. Stacener says it could have been much worse had volunteer firefighters from three parishes not stepped up to the call for help.

"I would just like to say thank you to all of the fire districts that responded to help us out we're a small department and we couldn't make it without their assistance," said Stacener.

"It takes all of us - that's what we do. We rely on them, they rely on us," said Golien.

No injuries were reported. Meanwhile the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation. Of the 75 to 100 firefighters on scene more than 90 percent were volunteers: from Beauregard Parish fire districts 1, 2, 3 and 4. Also Allen Parish fire district 3 and from Vernon Parish fire district 1, as well as Rosepine Fire Department.

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