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Electrical fire damages local nightclub

By Tara Bennett
On February 15, 2011

  • A water tanker stands by in case the blaze flares again. This tanker was one of many emergency vehicles at the scene. Nick BeJeaux
  • Firemen remove their cumbersome equipment after clearing The Buzz. Nick BeJeaux
  • Fire Marshalls and firemen gather in front of the club to keep civilians out. Nick BeJeaux

Partying took a hit last week as local nightclub The Buzz caught fire shortly after 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 7.

According to Hammond Fire Chief Paul Collura, all five fire stations were called out Monday night, to respond to the biggest fire of the year. Along with the Hammond Fire Department, aid was received from Natalbany Fire Department and the Ponchatoula Fire Department. The fire was under control by 8:33 p.m. with workers investigating the scene until 11:19 p.m.

According to the incident report, the origin of the fire occurred in a storage room where the electrical breaker box was located. Structural framing was noted as the first item to ignite. Currently the heat source and cause of ignition are undetermined.

"We pretty much ruled it as an electrical fire," said Collura.

According to The Buzz's General Manager Sean Benoit, who was present at the scene of the fire, no one was in the building at the time of the fire and there were no injuries.

"The cause seems to be electrical," said Benoit. "I've never had to deal with anything like this before. I don't know what the process is, but the owner I'm sure will figure out what we have to do to get to work on it, clean it up, do what we gotta do to rebuild and get back to work."

While still standing, the fire ruined 60 percent of the building's interior with an estimated $1 million in damages.

A large crowd made up of nearby locals and students from Southeastern came to watch firefighters control the flames inside the building located at 1905 Nashville Ave.

"It's crazy, like a parade," said Mike Cantin, a computer science senior.

"I'm just glad no one was hurt," said Susan Spence, a resident of Hammond. "It looks like there won't be much partying here now."

Other onlookers have their suspicions about the cause of the fire.

"I think it's interesting cause Asterisk closed down and now it's up for sale and The Buzz miraculously catches on fire three or four weeks after Asterisk closes down," said Courtney Barisco, a resident of Pontchatoula. "That's kinda awkward."

As of Tuesday, Feb. 15, Fire Prevention and the State Fire Marshall are still investigating the cause of the fire.


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