Early morning fire put out at Darrell's

Darrell's fire

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A local landmark is still standing fortunately after an early morning fire today.

This morning between 2:00 and 2:30 the Lake Charles Fire Department responded to several phone calls regarding smoke coming from the rear of the Darrell's building.

Officials with the Fire Department say the fire started in the wiring of an ice machine.

The place is known for its sandwiches. The favorite is the Darrell's Special. It's been a part of the Lake Charles community for almost 30 years.

But Sunday morning Darrell's owners and employees received a scare when calls flooded in regarding a blaze at their Lake Charles location.

"This is a very famous place with a lot of customers," said district fire chief Tommy Thomas. "They saw. I'm glad they saw it when they did because it would've gotten a lot worse."

After the initial fire crew arrived on scene, they called for assistance.

"We had to force our way through the doors, we had to break the glass doors," said Chief Thomas. "And then we had to cut the overhead doors to the rear to find the seed of the fire. It took awhile to do that."

But once inside fire fighters managed to contain the fire quickly.

"It went out rather fast after we found it," said Chief Thomas. "We just had a lot of smoke inside the building. It's a very large structure with a high ceiling. So it took awhile to get the smoke out."

Shock set it when owner Darrell Derouen heard the news.

"I couldn't believe it," said Derouen. "I mean really and really and truly. I mean you come here everyday. You don't ever think one day it's not going to be here or something like this is going to happen. Especially where they say it came from."

Chief Thomas says he believes the crews narrowed down the source.

"There was an ice machine that we think is the suspect back there," said Chief Thomas. "It burned pretty good."

Derouen and employees spent most of the day salvaging what they could and assessing the damage.

"You can sit here and dwell on how unlucky you were but when you look around, you can, in the same breath you can say how lucky you were because it could've gotten really bad," said Derouen.

Derouen says customers stopped by all day Sunday to offer a helping hand.

"It's an awesome feeling," said Derouen. "It really is. Kind of takes your breath away a little bit sometimes."

Derouen says he will start making calls Monday morning to the insurance company to come out and assess the damage.

He hopes Darrell's will be up and running before long.

Copyright KPLC 2012. All rights reserved.