SACS Western Store at 125 S Burnside caught fire on Sunday evening due to the malfunction of a heating lamp used to keep a piglet warm.
The Gonzales Fire Department was dispatched at 6:21 p.m. after a motorist reported that flames were rolling through the front of the building.
"When we arrived we had reports of fire coming through the front-right of the building," Fire Chief Tracey Normand said. "That area of the store is where dog food, pet foods, and towards the back are some pesticides and stuff like that."
But Normand confirmed shortly after the fire was put out that there was heavy heat and smoke damage to the entire store. The total estimated damage is reportedly worth upwards of $100,000.
"My firefighters did an excellent job," Normand said. He gave a roundabout figure of about 25-30 men on the job. They decided to call in backup. "They got in there. They knocked down the flames. We started ventilating. We cut a hole in the top of the building to get the smoke and the heat out."
Two firefighters were actually injured on the scene. Both are doing fine. One was treated on the spot for heat exhaustion. One had to be brought to St. Elizabeth's for smoke intake and heat exhaustion.
Ascension Parish Councilman Randy Clouatre was spectating. He said it was sad to see SACS take on such damage. He's been a patron since it opened in the late 1960s. Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux was also there.
"SACS is a long, long-time business here in Gonzales," Arceneaux said. "It's just a shame to see it burned like it is."
Arceneaux was concerned about the animals kept on that side of the store. A day later it was confirmed the piglet and two rabbits actually fell victim to the fire. On the bright side, store employees were later able to locate and rescue an iguana.
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