DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (BRPROUD) – Multiple fire departments responded to a massive fire at Live Oak Junior High Friday morning that left the school’s gym destroyed.

Crews were called at 9:50 a.m. and the fire was under control by lunchtime. Surrounding buildings were protected from the threat of flames, according to Livingston Parish Public Schools. Officials said the gym sustained damage from fire, smoke and water.

No injuries were reported in this fire.

“This is a tragic loss for the Watson community, as this building certainly holds many memories for so many. We are grateful that no one was injured, and we want to thank the 70-plus men and women who quickly responded to quench the fire and save the other buildings on our campus from being damaged,” Livingston Schools Superintendent Joe Murphy said.

School officials are awaiting the State Fire Marshal’s full report on the fire before starting rebuilding efforts.

Central Fire Department

Fire departments who responded to the fire along with Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 :

  • Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 5
  • Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 2
  • Central Fire Department
  • Pine Grove Fire Department of St. Helena Parish
  • East Side Fire Department of EBR Parish
  • City of Baton Rouge Fire Department
  • St. George Fire Department
  • Tangipahoa Parish District 1 Fire Department

Live Oak Junior High School posted this message on its Facebook page at the time of the fire: “Please be in prayer for our school. As many know by now our front gym is currently on fire and the firefighters are working hard to take care of it. Please stay away & allow the workers to do their job. As of now the school will be closed until further notice from officials. We will post once we have more details.”

Local reaction to Thursday’s fire:

“I have been Chief of Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 for 21 years, and I would say this fire was one of the 10 worst we’ve ever dealt with. There were many challenges, but we had much support from our fire response community, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Acadian Ambulance, and the Livingston Parish School System. Our community of responders came together to successfully manage this very dangerous situation,” Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 Chief James Wascom said.

“I know our firefighters were physically and mentally exhausted,” said Sheriff Jason Ard. “Battling that fire at Live Oak Junior High was an all day affair. We wanted to provide some type of help to give them a break. LPSO trustees assisted in rolling fire hoses and picking up equipment. And, the LPSO provided support where we could throughout the event. We are proud of our first responder partners at multiple fire departments for working that long and that hard to save the school.”

Louisiana resident Kim Pamplin said this about the fire, “It’s awful, I’m next door at work and my heart is breaking! A lot of memories!”

“This has been an emotional and devastating day for the Live Oak community as we watched our beloved junior high gym go up in flames. The amazing thing that came out of this was the brave fire fighters and first responders who battled to keep the fire from destroying the entire school,” School Board Member Kellee Dickerson said. “For this, we are forever grateful.”