OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – The city of Opelousas is working to rebuild yet another one of its historic buildings after it was destroyed in a devastating fire early Sunday morning.
The South City Park Civic Center is located at 1500 Market Street in Opelousas.
Ash and rubble is all that is left of the South City Park Civic Center, the building has been a part of the community for about 50 years and city officials are sad to see it go.
“When I got to the park it just looked like a bad dream,” City Park Director Clarence Watson said.
Fire officials said the fire started when someone dumped hot coals into a trash can outside.
The fire ignited some electrical wiring and the fire spread into the building.
Mayor Reginald Tatum said the center has been a part of the community for about 50 years.
“There were weddings planned through the end of the year, matter of fact, there are weddings planned going into next year, so it’s imperative that we get this building rebuilt.”
City Park Director Clarence Watson said, so far, guests with events booked have been very understanding.
“Right now the secretary she’s getting a lot of calls. If we have another day open we can put them there, if not we will refund them.”
In addition to wedding receptions and birthday parties, the South City Park Civic Center was mainly used as a recreational center.
“That’s what we were counting on it for. This was giving our youth, our teens something to do, something to keep them off the streets. This was a place for them to come and play, this was an outlet for them,” Tatum said.
In fact, summer programs were set to begin this week.
Tatum said the city is planning to rebuild as soon as possible.
“I’ve already talked to the insurance people this morning, and we’re waiting for the adjuster to come out and take pictures and look at it. We’re going to rebuild. I mean, of course it won’t be the same original wood, but we are going to do our best. We are going to rebuild as soon as we can.”
Tatum said as of now, fire officials are ruling this fire accidental.
“We’ve lost a lot, a lot of history here, and all we can do is hope and be thankful for whenever it’s put back up again,” Watson said.
Clarence said several people have brought donations to help replace some of the activities and games lost in the fire. If you would like make donations to the park contact the South City Teen Center.
Tatum said if you would like to make a monetary donation to help fund the rebuilding process to contact City Hall.