Firefighters unable to extinguish flames before building collapses

Firefighters unable to extinguish flames before building collapses

At approximately 8 p.m. Friday night, firefighters from Orange County Emergency Services District No. 1 responded to a commercial structure fire next door to A-1 Smoke Shop, located at 585 N. Main St. in Vidor. The building was formally known as Tower Medical Center and was abandoned. The department fought the fire from an attempted offensive position for about 30 to 45 minutes, according to Bryant Champagne, fire chief of Orange County Services District No. 1, before having to call in support from Little Cypress, Bridge City, McLewis, Deweyville fire departments and ESD No. 4.

"The flames were too extensive and we ended up calling in mutual aid organizations," Champagne said.

With help from neighboring fire departments, ESD No. 1 was able to fight the fire from a defensive position.

"Probably about an hour in, we made the decision to go defensive. We were able to set up master streams with Little Cypress's ladder as well as deploy some other ground monitors," he said. "We basically went into a defensive posture and protected the exposures around the building."

Firefighters were finally able to extinguish the fire, but not before the building collapsed. There were no reported injuries, Champagne said.

According to Vidor Police Chief Dave Shows, the State Fire Marshal's Office began investigating the site Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Champagne said in an interview with the Examiner Wednesday, Feb. 27 that Orange County ESD No. 1 has completed its investigation as of Tuesday, Feb. 26.

"The findings are inconclusive or undetermined at this time," he said.