Fire destroys sewing plant in Ferriday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – Fire destroyed the Serio Building on First Street Tuesday evening, less than four months after camouflage clothing maker Mardy’s Contracting moved into the building.

&uot;We don’t know anything at this point,&uot; said Mardy’s co-owner Judy Cooper, referring to the cause of the fire – which is still under investigation – and what the company will do now.

She watched the fire from across the street with Co-Owner Martha Whatley and other relatives and friends.

A passing firefighter saw smoke coming from the building at about 4 p.m. and alerted the Ferriday Fire Department.

About 30 firefighters Ferriday, Ridgecrest and Vidalia fire departments and Concordia Fire District No. 2, with six fire trucks and at least two rescue vehicles, responded to fight the fire.

Even Judy Cooper’s son, David Cooper, and his father, Dale Cooper, grabbed a hose and helped fight the flames. &uot;You don’t want to know what I’m thinking right now – you couldn’t print it,&uot;&160;David Cooper said, staring at the flames.

But by 5:30 p.m., flames were shooting out of the caved-in roof of Mardy’s main building at 908 First St. – and shortly after, the brick-and-metal facade of the building collapsed, almost on top of some nearby firefighters.

The fire apparently started in the back of Mardy’s main building, in an area used to store foam cushions.

&uot;We don’t know the cause yet – it’s still under investigation,&uot; said Ferriday Fire Chief Joe Sontoyo. But representatives of the State Fire Marshal’s Office were expected to arrive at the scene late Tuesday night to begin their investigation.

&uot;I just feel sorry for the ladies (Cooper and Whatley),&uot; said Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin, who stayed at the scene until late Tuesday night. &uot;They’ve got everything in that building.&uot;

Mardy’s received a $124,000 state grant and $15,000 grant from Entergy late last year to renovate to the Serio Building the house its business, which was previously located in a smaller building on Louisiana Avenue.