COLUMNS

Fires are a wake-up call

Michael Tortorich
Michael Tortorich is a reporter for The Gonzales Weekly Citizen. He can be reached at reporter1 @ weeklycitizen.com.

The news from around the area has been dominated by reports of fire and the devastation flames can bring.

Here in Ascension Parish, we have had our share of blazes lately as fire crews worked to extinguish fires in Gonzales and St. Amant in the first week of the new year.

Early Sunday morning a house in Gonzales caught fire and flames spread to a neighboring home. Music Inc., which is located next to the house, did not sustain any damage.

Crews also battled a fire in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day in St. Amant along Hwy. 429. Firefighters worked for nearly an hour to get the blaze under control.

The Baton Rouge area also has had several fires in recent days, notably The Caterie restaurant and the surrounding businesses in the Acadian Perkins Plaza. Some 85 firefighters worked more than 24 hours as they battled the blaze. Ladder trucks were used to pump thousands of gallons of water into the building.

The Caterie has been known for years as one of the best places in the area to go to hear top local bands. It had made a name for itself with its food and live music atmosphere.

A long list of bands have taken the stage there, such as Meriwether, Liquid Sand, One Wants, Addavoy, American Tragedy and ‘80s tribute band the Molly Ringwalds, just to name a few.

Several bands used the space to practice and store their instruments.

Though many fond memories went up in smoke with the building, the good news is that the owners plan to rebuild. Soon enough, new memories will be made.

The nice thing about buildings is that they can be replaced. Unfortunately, people can’t be replaced. And that’s why it is important to practice fire safety.

The cold temperatures that come with the winter season bring the need for home heating, which can be an potential hazard. Wood stoves, space heaters and fireplaces can add risk if not used properly. FireSafety.gov offers plenty of useful tips.

The men and women of our fire departments have proven time and again that they are prepared and willing to take on any task given to them.

In this time where we’ve seen so many devastating fires in our area, it is important to be prepared and practice fire safety.