Fire destroys Erath lounge

by Rachel Worthy

Wednesday morning, firefighters from around Vermilion Parish were called to the scene at 123 W. Edwards St. in Erath, with a fire in progress at Shoot’s Lounge. More than 50 residents gathered in the parking lot to witness one of their local establishments meet an unfortunate fate.

Erath Fire Chief Wayne Mouton said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but he heard from first responders that the fire started in the back part of the bar.

Shoot’s Lounge owner, Wilbert Broussard, built living quarters in the rear section of the lounge, where he lived, and had to be hospitalized immediately after the fire started. Chief Mouton said at the time of this interview that he did not know the status of Broussard’s condition.

According to the Erath Fire Chief, the fire started at approximately 10 a.m. and firefighters worked diligently throughout the morning to contain the fire with a short staff.

Mouton said he wants people to know that "mid-day on a weekday, all volunteer fire departments are understaffed.” He added that the Erath Fire Department was only 30 percent staffed Wednesday, with a mere six fire fighters who were called to the fire.

Mouton said that one of his men, full-time Erath firefighter Mark Hebert sustained smoke inhalation injuries, and had to be taken to a hospital during the fire.

Mouton said firefighters weren’t able to contain the fire quickly because of the construction of the lounge.

“By the time all the different departments and man power were able to come on the scene, the fire had gotten inside the attic underneath the metal roof,” Mouton said.

“With an open attic like that, the fire just progressed and (spread) straight across and ignited the building, which makes it pretty much impossible for us to try to fight - when the fire’s on top of you,” he explained.

He said the layout of Shoot’s Lounge is open on the bottom so the heat was able to travel and spread quickly.

Mouton said firefighters from Leblanc, Henry, Delcambre, Kaplan, Abbeville, Meaux Nunez, Maurice and Pecan Island were able to respond to the fire and get it contained and prevent it from spreading to other buildings in the strip mall.

The fire was eventually contained at approximately 12:30 and Mouton said the cause of the fire is under investigation. Shoot’s Lounge is located next to City Hall in Erath.

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