Heavy winds from Hurricane Delta were blamed with sparking an electrical fire Friday at a commercial store front in Donaldsonville, the mayor and the retired fire chief said.

Part of the building is home to a church, the Fountain of Faith Christian Center, but Mayor Leroy Sullivan said the fire started on a vacant side of the old National Food store. 

The building along La. 1 South caught fire sometime before 10:41 p.m. Friday, Mayor Leroy Sullivan said.

Between 10 and 11 p.m. Friday, wind gusts in the Baton Rouge area had reached their rough high point, surpassing 50 mph in several areas, including the Burnside area, the National Weather Service reported.

The city fire department had called out for assistance Friday to help handle the fire amid the high winds brought by the hurricane, Sullivan said. Firefighters in Napoleonville assisted in the response, he said. 

Sullivan said firefighters had to get water on the building from more than one side to keep the flames from spreading farther inside the building and toward a nearby gas station.

Former longtime city fire chief Chuck Montero, in a Facebook post, blamed Delta for causing service lines on the corner of the building to arc electricity.

Photographs that Montero, who assisted with the fire response, took and posted on Facebook showed firefighters used a ladder truck to get water on the roof of the building and behind its upper facade.

Current fire officials weren't immediately available for comment Saturday.

Sullivan said he had spoken with the pastor of the church who said the church had water damage and was waiting to hear what kind of damage the fire had caused to its electrical system.

The building's street address is 279 W. 11th St., Donaldsonville.


Email David J. Mitchell at dmitchell@theadvocate.com

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