Vermilion

Nov 9, 2011 7:28 PM by Maddie Garrett

Fire Destroys Iconic Building, Possible Arson

Fire destroyed three businesses in Kaplan, all in the same building at the corner of North Irving Avenue and West First Street. It burned until early Wednesday morning, after igniting around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Authorities are investigating the fire as a possible arson.

"It was heart wrenching, it really was," said Pat Herpin, building owner.

Herpin had to stand and watch Tuesday night as her livelihood went up in flames.

"Part of history for this community was taken, and a lot of memories, an awful lot of memories, it's really sad," she said.

In 1944, Pat's father-in-law built the building and opened up a car dealership. Her mother-in-law also started a flower shop in that same building. Until the fire, it was home to Global Video, Cajun Computers and a tire center. All were destroyed.

"And all we can do is bull doze it, that's it, there's nothing left," said Herpin.

But the Herpins' isn't the first place to burn to the ground in Kaplan. Just a month ago the Speak Easy caught fire, along with a home next door. And before that several empty homes burned. Authorities believe those fires were arson.

"We've had numerous fires that have been a suspicious in origin, those fires are also under investigation with the fire marshal's office," said Kaplan Fire Chief Donald Meaux.

The State Fire Marshal's Office has its hands full in Kaplan, now investigating this fire as a possible arson as well. But authorities don't believe Tuesday's fire and the others are related.

"If it is arson, whoever did this has no conscience," said Herpin.

Herpin said the community is offering her and her husband help in the clean up, meanwhile authorities continue the search for answers.

 

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