BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A small fire erupted inside of Vitalant’s Baton Rouge center on One Calais Avenue on Jan. 18. Vitalant confirms that no one was harmed or inside of the building at the time of the fire.

Due to the damages caused by the fire, the donation center will be closed until further notice. Vitalant encourages all eligible donors to visit other donation centers across Louisiana.

“The nation is currently undergoing a blood shortage, so this fire comes at an especially inopportune time,” said Vitalant Regional Director Julie Eaton. “We urge Baton Rouge area donors to make appointments at Vitalant mobile blood drives. Patient blood needs must continue to be met every day.” 

Blood drives that are currently scheduled will still go on as planned.

Vitalant, which services about 900 hospitals across 28 states, including 23 across 21 Louisiana parishes, is currently experiencing a historic, two-year low blood supply. The fast-spreading omicron variant is the latest COVID-19 complication forcing additional community blood drives to cancel and lessening the number of healthy and available donors. 

All eligible donors, especially those with the most transfused blood type O, which is currently at less than half of the desired four-day supply, are critically needed to make an appointment now to give in the days and weeks ahead. During the month of January, any eligible donor who gives with Vitalant will be entered into a giveaway to win one of four $5,000 prepaid gift cards redeemable by email.

To make an appointment or for more information, visit vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL. Donors must feel well on the day of their donation.