The LeBlanc’s restaurant wholesale company caught fire early Friday evening in Ascension Parish next to the St. Amant High School football stadium just two hours before the school’s football team was set to do battle with rival Lutcher High School on the gridiron.
St. Amant Fire Chief James LeBlanc said 10 to 12 St. Amant firefighters were at the stadium off La. 429, some already directing traffic for the big game, when they saw smoke and flames coming from the meat smoking room at LeBlanc's Cajun Boudin and Food Co. next door shortly before 5 p.m.
He said the volunteer firefighters at the stadium arrived less than a minute after spotting the blaze, but the fire quickly spread to the attic. The plant became fully involved, drawing firefighters from multiple departments within the parish Fire District No. 1 and from the Gonzales Fire Department. In all, 75 firefighters fought the blaze that started shortly before 5 p.m and was extinguished just after 7 p.m.
“Once it got in the attic, it was history,” said LeBlanc, who said he is no relation to the owners of the business.
No injuries were reported, LeBlanc said.
He said the business, which is a large facility in the southeast corner of the parish near St. Amant Middle School, appears to be a loss. Photographs and a video provided by the department show white smoke billowing from the plant into the evening sky.
Attempts to reach company officials at home and at the business were unsuccessful Friday night, but the company’s Facebook page says LeBlanc’s is a restaurant wholesaler specializing in pork, shrimp, crawfish and boudin.
He said firefighters working on the blaze after 7 p.m. could hear the cannons going off inside St. Amant High’s stadium every time the school scored. By that time, firefighters were already mopping up.
LeBlanc said he expected firefighters would be investigating the cause of the blaze into the night. Fire District No. 1 departments involved in battling the fire were St. Amant, Sorrento, 7th District and Galvez-Lake.
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