Massive fire at abandoned group home for boys considered suspicious
PONCHATOULA – Firefighters have labeled a massive blaze at a 7,000-square-foot abandoned boys group home as suspicious.
Virtually every building at the former Reynolds Institute in Ponchatoula burned this weekend. Monday, the fire department said it was still unsure of what ignited the flames at the facility without utilities, leading them to label the fire as suspect.
Fifteen Ponchatoula firefighters and ten supporting firefighters from the Eight Ward department further east of town battled the blaze for six hours overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning.
The compound was rocked by “several” explosions as the flames burned through the abandoned facility on W Murray Road, firefighters posted on social media.
Pictures posted online showed the compound glowing from the fire – sitting back nearly 800 feet away from the road.
Firefighters said the facility was at the end of a winding, muddy dirt road and surrounded by two to four feet of brush. They described the scene as difficult.
A Google Map view shows as many as 8 connected buildings at the facility.
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