The Vermilion Parish Farmers Co-Op buildings burned throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning. The buildings are located between Louisiana Street and East Street.
Abbeville’s aerial fire truck was still on location Saturday morning putting out small fires and protecting the dryer building that did not burn.
It began at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and by 10:30 p.m. that night, firemen from Scott, Lafayette and New Iberia were released.
Abbeville and many volunteer firemen were on scene at 4 p.m. Friday trying to contain the fire only to the old building behind the cement rice bins.
Because Abbeville firemen had to use their aerial fire truck, which hovered over electrical wires, the city electrical department turned off electricity to parts of Abbeville for safety reasons.
Also, residents who live around the burning buildings had to be evacuated. They returned home around 10 p.m. after the fire was under control.
The Farmers’s Co-Op has been a part of rice farming in the parish since the 1940s. Today, the facility is owned by around 20 parish farmers. The farmers now use the buildings to dry and store their rice.
According to Keith Luquette, a parish rice farmer who has rice stored at the co-op, said many of the cement rice bins were empty. He said the farmers biggest worry was that the north metallic building might burn. He said close to 60,000 barrels of rice are being stored in that building, which also contains the dryer.
Saturday morning, that building looked to have some exterior damage, but the inside was intact.
The fire, according to Beau Barras of the Abbeville Fire Department, began in the production office of the co-op building. It spread to the back by East Street. The structure that first burned was built in the 1940s.
The metallic green building co-op building, began burning around 7 p.m. Friday. The metallic building contained the store, which had been closed for at least five years.