Investigators search for cause of battery plant fire

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – It took dozens of fire fighters more than 3 hours to put out a 2 alarm fire at the old Gould Battery Plant. Thick smoke rose high into the air, and flames flickered 15 to 20 feet above the building, alarming nearby businesses.

"All the sudden we started seeing smoke. I mean, it was billowing, and it was rolling. It was rolling, and it wasn't long after that, a couple minutes, we started hearing the fire trucks respond," said ROnald Fletcher who works next door at Shreveport Tractor.

Now that the flames are gone, the investigation begins. Shreveport Fire Investigators decided to call in the ATF because of the high value of the building and the extent of the damage. Investigators estimated the building is worth more than $1 million.

"They normally investigate commercial fires," said Fire Chief Fred Sanders of the ATF.

While investigators have not determined a cause, they say they aren't ruling anything out.

"There was a transformer that was an active and energized transformer. So, first of all they've got to eliminate the possibility that this was accidental before they can determine that it was something other than accidental," said Sanders.

The plant has been vacant for the last 5 years. Exide Technologies owns the lease, and they had a representative on the scene Wednesday to assess the damage.

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