Fire destroys Oakdale Elementary
‘Major fire’ could be seen from miles away
OAKDALE — A huge fire ripped through a large portion of Oakdale Elementary School on Wednesday, destroying most of the building.
“The older part of the school seems to be totally destroyed,” School Superintendent Michael Doucet said.
About 80 percent of the school was destroyed by the fire including the library and classrooms for 2, 3, and 4th grades. The lunchroom and a multipurpose room were also heavily damaged after the building collapsed, he said.
Doucet described it as a “major fire” with massive flames and smoke billowing into the air. It could be seen from miles away.
The fire is believed to have started on the south end of the school and spread to the north end around 4 p.m. The fire set off the school’s fire alarms which alerted the fire department.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office.
“We know that the last teacher left about 3:10 p.m. and everything was locked up and fine,” he said.
As of 7 p.m. firefighters were still battling the blaze which caused a major portion of the building to collapse. Firefighters were expected to continue to work to put out hot spots throughout the night.
School officials were waiting to survey the extent of the damage.
“Right now we have to assess what we have available,” he said. “We have a newer section of the school that was not damaged by the fire, but we haven’t gotten to go in to see if there was any damage caused by smoke and water.”
As for the future of classes at the pre-K to 4th grade, Doucet said school officials will begin to put a plan together for the future of the 700 students enrolled at the school.
The school was currently out for the summer.
Doucet said the fire was a shock to the community, but said everyone has been working together.
“This whole community has really come together,” he said. “We have over 20 fire trucks here and everybody is lending a hand and doing what they can.”
This is the first fire Doucet can remember the Allen Parish school system.