Reported By: Lee Peck
Surveying what's left of their restaurant, DeAngelo's co-owners Ben Herrera and Richie Gregory say it's hard to believe that six years of hard work has been reduced to a pile of ashes. The two men built the restaurant from the ground up.
"It was surreal to watch it burn early sunday morning, a lot of different emotions go through your head," said Herrera.
The fire that ripped through the popular pizzeria early Sunday morning took five fire crews more than nine hours to fully extinguish. And while there's a lot speculation on what exactly caused the fire, investigators believe it started in the upper region of the kitchen. Arson is not suspected.
"I think it will be a good week, week and a half before we really know, maybe exactly where it started, how it started and what caused it all," said Herrera.
The total loss has left the close knit staff in mourning and hungry patrons looking for other options. "I had no clue... I was like we are just going to have to somewhere's else to eat some good pizza. It's just so sad," said Ashley Bernard.
Already well wishers are coming by leaving messages such as "We miss you" and "Come back soon." The owners want to thank everyone for their overwhelming support during this difficult time and say they'll be back bigger and better.
"I think there would probably be death warrants out there for both Ben and I if we didn't come back here. And that's what's been special," said Gregory.
"You know Lake Charles, the people here are amazing and what they've done for us and DeAngelo's has been good for Lake Charles. Our hopes are to rebuild but we just have a lot to do to make that happen," said Herrera.
They expect it will likely take 6 months to rebuild. In the meantime, their first priority is helping their staff of 45 find temporary employment.
"It's not like losing a home with the personal possessions, it's a business and it's people's livelihoods and that's the tough part," said Gregory.
"I would hope that anybody out there that sees a DeAngelo's employee come and apply, that they would give them a job because we had some good ones. We had some really good employees, that's what made this place," said Herrera.
The owners say they'll likely have to tear down what's left of the building, but expect to rebuild in the same location at 121 South Ryan Street. Meanwhile, they are meeting for dinner with all of their employees Wednesday night at 5 p.m. at the Lake Charles Raquet Club to discuss available options.
There is a shocking trend in the Lake area—deadly violence with teens among those arrested. In fact we've seen two cases in just over a week.First on July 17TH, gunfire on North Simmons Street in Lake Charles left 31 year old Gary Obrien dead. Four people face charges in connection with the case, including 16 year old Justin Ned. He's booked on charges of principle to first degree murder and armed robbery. And this past Saturday, 24-ye...More >>
When you visit the website, moneymapupdates.com it claims you can receive around $2,300 every month for the rest of your life. It seems too good to be true. That's because it is. Because in order to start receiving payments you need to sign up through the website by providing your personal and credit card information. "That's a red flag right there," said Carmen Million, president of the Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau. "They're using half-truths...More >>
The Calcasieu parish school board has been offering the Community Eligibility Provision Program for four years. This year, adding Westwood Elementary to the ever-growing list. It makes sure students in high poverty schools receive a healthy breakfast and lunch during the school day. The Director of School Nutrition Programs, Jaqueline Richard, says this has been a successful program over the years. “It’s a great program for students and families who struggle to have a nu...More >>
An upper level disturbance passed over Southwest Louisiana Tuesday and that kept clouds around the area and even a few sprinkles during the morning. But as expected, rain was very limited and that will remain true for the rest of the week. Temperatures were held a few degrees cooler during the afternoon due to the clouds, but it was still rather warm with most areas reaching the low 90s.More >>