Foul play not a factor in blaze at Live Oak Junior High School, officials say
WATSON, La. (WAFB) - Firefighters in Livingston Parish announced foul play was ruled out as a possible cause of a large fire at Live Oak Junior High School that happened Friday, July 22.
Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 stated on Wednesday, July 27 that investigators continue to work with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office to determine the exact cause of the blaze.
The school’s generator records have been obtained and the school board has been diligent in providing fire officials with all necessary information.
Crews report they are still in the process of elimination but are leaning to the cause of the fire being weather/lightning related.
The school announced the front gym caught fire in a social media post on Friday morning.
Nine local fire districts responded to the call and were able to stabilize the fire by lunchtime, successfully protecting surrounding classroom buildings from damage. Officials state that the gym’s interior was destroyed by the fire and took on smoke, and water damage.
The fire also caused damage to the roof and it became insecure causing firefighters to abandon their work on the inside of the building at one point and only fight the blaze from the exterior.
“This is a tragic loss for the Watson community, as this building certainly holds many memories for so many. We are grateful that no one was injured, and we want to thank the 70-plus men and women who quickly responded to quench the fire and save the other buildings on our campus from being damaged,” Livingston Schools Superintendent Joe Murphy said.
Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 Chief James Wascom said his investigative team, in conjunction with the State Fire Marshall’s Office, will investigate the cause of the blaze and report on the full extent of the damage.
“I have been Chief of Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 for 21 years, and I would say this fire was one of the 10 worst we’ve ever dealt with. There were many challenges, but we had much support from our fire response community, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Acadian Ambulance, and the Livingston Parish School System. Our community of responders came together to successfully manage this very dangerous situation,” James Wascom said.
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