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March 17, 2017 - 1:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Le Roy, news.

A washer fire with smoke showing is reported in the mobile home park on Lake Street Road in Le Roy. Le Roy Fire Department is responding with mutual aid from Bergen and Pavilion to 8769 Lake Street Road, Lot #12.

UPDATE 1:31 p.m.: A first responder on scene reports a light haze inside the structure.

UPDATE 2:11 p.m.: The Le Roy assignment is returning to service.

March 16, 2017 - 5:39pm

Information from a press release:

The topic for Criminal Justice Day 2017, during National Crime Victims' Rights Week, is "Education, Prevention & Resources for Older Adults." A forum on this subject will take place on Monday, April 3, at the Stuart Steiner Theatre at Genesee Community College in Batavia. It runs from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the campus is located at 1 College Road, Batavia.

Cost to attend is $10 per person, or $5 for students. Seniors 60 and older get in free.

According to the event organizers, abuse of older adults occurs in many different ways: physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as financial exploitation in the form of forgery, scams and credit card or property theft.

The forum will explore the various facets of elder abuse, the signs of abuse, and provide strategies and resources in preventing abuse, along with where to go for help and how to proceed after an individual has been victimized.

Perpectives will be shared by representatives from the the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Genesee County District Attorney's Office, Secret Service, Lifespan, Genesee County Office for the Aging, Ombudsman Program, Genesee Justice, Department of Social Services as well as a local senior citizen organization president.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week provides a time of national remembrance for crime victims and survivors in order to raise awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims; the challenges that victims face in seeking help and hope in the aftermath of crime; and the positive impact that we can all have in providing services and support to victims and survivors of crime.

The theme of "Strength. Resilience. Justice." reflects this vision of the future, one in which all victims are strengthened by the response they receive, organizations are resilient to challenges, and communities are able to seek collective justice and healing.

In addition to the aforementioned participants and GCC, the event is also presented by these partners: Batavia City Police, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA), Genesee County Youth Bureau, Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans County, and YWCA of Genesee County.

To RSVP, make checks payable to GCASA, and mail by Monday, March 27 to: GCASA, 430 E. Main St., Batavia NY 14020.

Include your name, address, city, state, Zip code, phone, and email address.

For questions regarding registration, call 343-1124 or email Diane Klos at  [email protected]      (FAX is 585-343-9622)

March 16, 2017 - 5:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in ARC, news, batavia, art, film festival.

The Arc of Genesee Orleans Art Show & Film Festival will be held at Stuart Steiner Theatre, at Genesee Community College, on Saturday, March 18.

The campus is located at 1 College Drive in the Town of Batavia.

The artwork, courtesy of artists served by The Arc of Genesee Orleans, will be displayed at 12:30 p.m., followed by the Sprout Film Festival at 1 o'clock.

Register at the event to win a beautiful framed work of art!

For more information, contact Shelley Falitico at 343-4203 or visit geneseearc.org or arcoforleans.org.

This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regnant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature and administered by GO ART!

March 15, 2017 - 7:09pm

The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble will hold its Spring Concert in the auditorium of Elba Central School at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 30.

Philip J. Briatico is the conductor.

It will feature these works:

  • "A Copeland Tribute" -- Clair Grundman
  • "Barnum & Bailey's Favorite" -- Karl King
  • "Ghost Train" -- Eric Whitacre
  • "New York: 1927" -- Warren Barker
  • Highlight's from Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Carousel"
  • "When Jesus Wept" -- William Schuman
  • Sounds of the Carpenters
  • "Hymn to a Blue Hour" -- John Mackey
  • "Bond...James Bond" -- arrangements by Stephen Bulla

Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors age 55 and up, and veterans; $5 for students with I.D.; children ages 5 and under are free. Get a Family Deal for $25 for mom and dad and up to four children.

Also, there will be a Meal Deal printed on the back of the tickets, offering a deal at Chap's Elba Diner, which can only be used immediately following the concert for 10 percent off the dining bill.

This program is made possible, in part, by the Reach Grant program administered by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

The purpose of the Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble is to serve and to provide the Greater Genesee Valley audience with new and familiar live music, to serve its membership with the opportunity to perform challenging wind ensemble literature and to create the opportunity for the conductor and musicians to grow their collective musical talents.

To contact the ensemble, email  [email protected]

March 15, 2017 - 6:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, batavia, youth.

The Genesee County Job Development Bureau will hold a Youth Job Fair from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 23. It will take place at the Genesee County Career Center, located at 587 E. Main St., Batavia.

Eleven employers and 13 vendors are scheduled to attend. They will assist youth graduating from high school secure employment on a short-term or long-term basis, and vendors such as Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, Genesee Community College, and Empire State College will have representatives there to talk to the youth about vocational or educational goals.

In addition, representatives from the Department of Labor will be on hand to review students' resumes.

For questions or to participate in this event, contact Jay Lazarony, senior employment & training counselor, Genesee County Career Center, 587 E. Main St., Batavia. Phone 344-2042, ext. 4212, or email  [email protected]

March 15, 2017 - 6:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, st. joseph's school.

Submitted photo and press release:

St. Joseph School inducted new members into its Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) last week.

With help from the school's current NJHS members, new inductees were welcomed into the NJHS at a ceremony held at St. Joseph Church. The NJHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. For 10 years, the students in the NJHS at St. Joe’s have been helping the Batavia community by holding fundraisers and providing services for many different organizations.

To be considered for a nomination into this Society, seventh-grade students had to maintain an average of 94 or above and eighth-grade students had to maintain an average of 90 or above. These students then had to apply for membership showcasing their accomplishments and service over the past few years. After careful review and consideration, the St. Joe’s NJHS faculty council selected this year’s inductees.

Congratulations to seventh-grade students Nathanael Brew, Colin McCulley, Aiden Sisson, Lucia Sprague, Steven Zocco, and to eighth-grade students Donato Fiorentino, Colin Kratz, Ava Reinhart and Maxwell Tenney.

March 15, 2017 - 5:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in Sunshine Week, steve hawley, news.

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) on Sunshine Week, which is dedicated to increased openness, accountability and transparency in government:

“Sunshine Week is a tremendous opportunity we have as public officials to inject trust and integrity back into Albany politics. Unfortunately, year after year, Albany’s budget process seems to be the opposite.

"The governor and house leaders have routinely kept many rank-and-file legislators completely in the dark on budget negotiations, only to thrust a series of very long bills on our desks in the middle of the night for a rushed vote, and that is unacceptable.

“Let’s not forget it was New York City special interests who voted against 12 reforms put on the table by my upstate Assembly colleagues and I, which would have set term limits for legislative leaders, put restrictions on messages of necessity and required a three-day input process before legislation could be voted upon.

"The best way to cut through the dark cloud of secrecy and backroom dealings is sunshine, and I will be working to pull back the curtains as we move forward.”

March 15, 2017 - 5:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, batavia.

Rachel Ann Baehr, 30, of Linwood Road, Le Roy, is charged with third-degree assault. On March 15, at 1:25 a.m., Baehr was arrested following an investigation of a domestic incident that occurred at 9101 Linwood Road in the Town of Le Roy. She allegedly bit another person's face, causing them to bleed. Baehr was arraigned, then released under supervision of Genesee Justice. She is due back in Le Roy Town Court on April 20. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Ryan Young.

Richard Dean McKague Jr., 26, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. On March 14, at about 11:16 a.m., McKague was arrested for allegedly possessing a Kung Fu Star during a probation home check. He was issued an appearance ticker for April 11 in Batavia Town Court. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Deputy Chad Cummings.

March 15, 2017 - 5:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news.

A Statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) on the Assembly’s One-House Budget Resolution:

“It comes as no surprise that the Assembly’s One-House Budget Resolution, crafted in secret by New York City politicians, increases taxes and spending and shifts our state’s resources in a way that seemingly benefits illegal aliens and criminals as much as taxpaying citizens.

"This is a 3-percent spending increase over last year and it is disingenuous to force our municipalities to stay within the 2 percent tax cap when the legislature is not required to do so. We should lead by example and walk the walk.

"I will not stand for free college giveaways like the DREAM Act, Raise the Age, which protects violent felony offenders or the Essential Plan, which gives high-end healthcare plans to illegals on our dime.

"Despite these misplaced priorities, billions to fund clean water infrastructure upgrades, an increase in school aid, an increase in local agriculture assistance and a $500 million proposed investment in the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) will go a long way toward improving and strengthening our community if they make it into the final enacted state budget. Expect me to remain vigilant and fight for these initiatives in the coming weeks.

"Furthermore, I am encouraged by the proposed $4 million restoration in Library Aid that the governor planned on cutting. I have worked diligently over the last few months to restore this funding and even wrote a letter to Speaker Heastie with signatures of 62 legislators from both sides of the aisle.”

March 13, 2017 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A distrubance is reported in the Walmart parking lot in the area of Row #8 by the food entrance. There are three people involved, including at least one female. A subject reportedly has some sort of a weapon, which was brandished because "he was being attacked." Sheriff's deputies just arrived.

March 11, 2017 - 10:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, Darien.

darienbarnfiremarch112017.jpg

A fully involved barn fire is reported at 9829 Simonds Road, Darien. All available manpower from Darien Fire Department is called to the scene, along with Mercy medics and mutual aid from the city's Fast Team, Town of Batavia, Alexander, East Pembroke, Corfu, and Pembroke. A first responder en route says flames can be seen a mile away. Crittenden Fire Department is called to fill in at Darien's fire hall. The location is between Richley and Bennett roads.

UPDATE 10:29 p.m.: Mercy medics are back in service.

UPDATE 10:42 p.m.: The barn is on the ground, totally destroyed.

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UPDATE: Below, reader-submitted photos, first of the fire and then of one of the tanker refill locations.

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UPDATE: More reader submitted photos.

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March 10, 2017 - 4:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, pembroke, corfu.

Jason E. Carpenter, 38, Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with second-degree assault. Carpenter was arrested following an investigation into a fight involving multiple persons at the corner of Liberty and Sumner streets in the city at 12:10 a.m. on Feb. 26. Carpenter is accused of punching another person in the eye causing multiple facial fractures. He was jailed without bail and due in City Court on March 7. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison.

Jamie L. Soto, 42, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with sex offender failure to mail verification form in 10 days -- prior offense, and sex offender failure to notify of address change in 10 days -- prior offense. This female was arrested and arraigned on March 9 in City Court. She had reported that she was living at a residence on East Main Street in "Apt. 4." Through an investigation, it was learned that there is no Apt. 4 and Soto had never resided in an apartment at that address. She was released under supervision of Genesee Justice and is due in City Court on April 6. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Eric Hill.

Daniel Thomas Henning, 36, of Buffalo Street, Attica, is charged with: DWI; DWI with a BAC of .08 percent or higher; inadequate exhaust; improper right turn; driving on sidewalk; and unlicensed operator. At 10:09 p.m. on March 8, Henning was arrested on Cedar Street in Batavia following the investigation of a motor-vehcile accident on Route 5 in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in City Court April 19. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jenna Ferrando, assisted by Deputy Michael Lute.

Otto C. Reinhardt III, 50, of Clarence Center Road, Clarence, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt following an incident at the Genesee County Courts Facility at 4 p.m. on March 7. It is alleged that Reinhardt had contact with an individual for whom a complete stay-away order of protection had been issued, thus barring him from any contact with that person. He was jailed on $1,000 cash bail or bond. He was due in City Court March 8. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Russell R. Miles Jr., 48, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested at a Batavia eatery on Main Street in Batavia at 4:32 p.m. on March 8 after he was found with a protected female. He was put in jail and was due in City Court March 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Debbie M. Simmons-Keller, 58, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. She was arrested at 4:25 a.m. on March 7 following a domestic dispute. She was issued an appearance ticket for March 21 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanigan, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

Melissa A. Wetmore, 44, of Main Street Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. She was arrested at 4:20 p.m. on March 6 on Pearl Street, Batavia, following a traffic stop of a vehicle in which was a passenger. It is alleged that marijuana was found underneath her seat. She was issued an appearance ticket for March 14 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards.

(name redacted upon request), 23, of Boyce Road, Pembroke, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and running a red light. She was arrested at 12:17 a.m. today (March 10) on Alleghany Road in Pembroke following a traffic stop. She is due in Town of Pembroke Court on March 28. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Meyer.

March 10, 2017 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, batavia.

Press release:

On March 7, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office arrested local contractor Dennis N. Rawleigh Jr., who is 46 and lives in Batavia, on one count of second-degree scheme to defraud, a Class A misdemeanor, after an investigation into complaints that he did not complete work he received payments for.

In November, Rawleigh, doing business as Rawleigh’s Tear Down, allegedly received over $15,000 in payments from a Town of Gainesville woman to perform work on two houses she owns, one in the Village of Perry and one in the Town of Gainesville. Very little work was completed on the Perry home and none on the Gainesville residence.

The second victim, a male subject from the Town of Sheldon, reported paying Rawleigh a $3,200 down payment to tear down a barn. Rawleigh, a former resident of Perry, attempted to pull the large barn down with a chain and his pickup with negative results. No further attempt to tear the barn down was made since June, 2015.

Rawleigh was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Gainesville Town Court later this month. The arrest report was prepared by Wyoming County Sheriff's Captain Erik Tamol.

March 10, 2017 - 2:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, steve hawley, elba.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today (March 10) proudly announced that the Village of Elba in Genesee County has received $3.5 million for a water improvement project, $2.1 million of which is a New York State Water Grant.

The project involves connecting to the Genesee County Water Supply by installing a new pressure-reducing valve, decommissioning the Chapel Street Well, and rehabilitating the Village’s finished water storage tank. More than 21,000 feet of aged water main will also be replaced.

“Water quality is a major issue across the state,” Hawley said. “This affects not only the water our residents use to drink and cook with, but also the water in our schools and businesses.

"Old lead and cast iron pipes were reliable technology 50 years ago, but they now need to be replaced, and I applaud state leaders for taking a proactive approach to mitigate costs. The more we invest upfront to swap out old pipes and water infrastructure, the more we will save in the long run and families will have peace of mind knowing the water they drink is safe and clean.”

March 9, 2017 - 7:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia City School District’s Jackson Primary School staff looks forward to welcoming its new kindergarten students for 2017-2018!

Registration for children eligible to begin kindergarten in the 2017-2018 school year starts Monday, March 13.

Parents/guardians are asked to register their eligible child(ren) by May 25 in order to assure a screening appointment in early June and a placement letter by early August.

Children who will be 5 years old on or before Dec. 1, 2017, are eligible.

Registration is at the District’s Business Office, located in the administration wing of Batavia High School (260 State St.), on school days between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

To register a child, parents must bring:

-- Proof of Residency as evidence of physical address, which must be two (2) of the following: (We will make copies for our records.)

  • Mortgage statement/lease
  • Electric or gas or bill
  • Water bill
  • Cable bill
  • Letter from attorney/realtor on their letterhead with confirmation of address and anticipated moving/closing date.
  • School tax bill
  • Current payroll check

--  the child’s birth certificate,

--  the child’s Social Security card, and

--  the child’s complete immunization records.

 Kindergarten screening appointments will be scheduled for June 6-8, and placement letters will be mailed the first week of August. In addition, parents/guardians will be notified of an evening orientation for themselves.

Parents of all new students to the District are also asked to register their child in the Business Office with the same documentation.

Current 2016-2017 UPK students will be provided with information to complete for registration into kindergarten by mail.

If you have questions, please call the Business Office at 343-2480, ext. 1002.

March 9, 2017 - 7:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in National Grid, power outage, windstorm.
Press release from National Grid:
 
Update on Restoration Efforts

National Grid crews are continuing to repair damage, remove trees and restore power to customers impacted by Wednesday's devastating windstorm. Gusts in excess of 70 mph caused extensive tree and equipment damage and left over 164,000 customers without power across our region.

As crews restored power throughout the day, National Grid also completed a comprehensive damage assessment and is estimating that 90 percent of impacted upstate New York customers will have power restored by late Friday evening. Most of the remaining impacted customers in the hardest hit areas – particularly in portions of Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties - – will have power restored late Saturday evening due to the severity of the storm damage.

As of 4 p.m., service has been restored to nearly 71,000 homes and businesses throughout Western New York, with approximately 52,000 customers remaining without power due to the storm’s impact.

If you lose power or have not yet reported a power outage, please contact us at 1-800-867-5222. Customers can also report outages via the Outage Central section of our website.

National Grid will make dry ice and bottled water available to customers at the following locations  from noon to 5 p.m. tomorrow:

  • Wrights Corners Fire Company
    4043 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY
     
  • City of Batavia Fire Department
    18 Evans Street, Batavia, NY
     
  • Village Fire Station
    80 Owens Rd., Brockport, NY

The dry ice will be cut for ease of handling, and can be used to protect food and other perishables.

For your safety, please remember these safety tips

  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electricity wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • Generator used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors. Before operating generators, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize your safety and the safety of our crews.
  • Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it’s an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
  • It’s a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts.
  • National Grid also advises staying tuned to local media for important announcements from emergency officials about possible evacuations or other emergency procedures. In most areas, information on storm shelter locations is available by calling 2-1-1. Also, please check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance in a service outage. 

We appreciate your support and patience as we work to restore service.
 
National Grid
Here with you. Here for you.

March 9, 2017 - 7:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, bergen, pembroke.

David J. Mylar IV is indicted for the crime of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 3, 2013, that Mylar knowingly entered or remained unlawfully inside a building on Main Road in the Town of Pembroke, with the intent to commit a crime.

Gregory J. Rodak is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 17 in the Town of Bergen that Rodak drove a 2007 Volkswagon on Townline Road while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, he is accused of DWI, per se, also a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 percent or more at the time.

Beverly B. Meadows is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor. It is alleged that on Dec. 6 in the Village of Le Roy that Meadows drove a 2003 Chevrolet on North Street while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, she is accused of DWI, per se, as a misdemeanor, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 percent or more at the time. In count three, Meadows is accused of the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that at the time of the crimes alleged in counts one and two, that she knew or had reason to know that her driver's license was suspended or otherwise withdrawn by authorities.

March 9, 2017 - 6:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news.

Press release from the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management Services:

To address concerns regarding non-emergency storm needs, call the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management Services at 585-344-0078, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

At this time, there is no confirmed time for restoration of power to various areas. National Grid estimates 90 percent of restoration by midnight tomorrow (March 10) and 99 percent by midnight on Saturday.

An Emergency Shelter was established starting at 5 o'clock tonight at the Batavia Veterans Hospital, 222 Richmond Ave., Building #4, Batavia.

Two warming shelters will be open in Batavia at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday: the Salvation Army, located at 529 E. Main St.; and the Genesee County Office of the Aging, 2 Bank St.

March 9, 2017 - 4:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, batavia.

A house fire is reported at 39 Manhatten Ave. in the city. Smoke is spewing from the attic. City fire is responding.

UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: The smoke came from a pan burning on the stove. There's no fire, just heavy smoke. The residence is evacuated.

March 8, 2017 - 9:45am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia.

A structure fire is reported at 404 Jackson St. It's across from Jackson School. Multiple calls have been received. Flames are seen coming from the rear of the house, which has three or four apartments. City fire just arrived.

UPDATE 9:46 a.m.: This has gone to a second alarm. Alexander Fast Team is called to respond along with Elba and Town of Batavia. Mercy medics are to report to the school's bus loop to treat a patient with possible smoke inhalation. Command at the scene reports potential fire exposure problems to nearby property.

UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: The multi-family dwelling is next to Max Pies Furniture.

UPDATE 10:06 a.m.: Jackson School has been evacuated.

UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: A neighbor at the scene says four dogs also live at the house. Their status is unknown.

UPDATE 10:13 a.m.: A worker(s) from National Fuel just arrived.

UPDATE 10:22 a.m.: National Grid is on scene.

UPDATE 10:24 a.m.: Command asks a dispatcher to contact the city's Public Works department to see what can be done to improve water pressure.

UPDATE 10:36 a.m.: Students at Jackson School are being dismissed. Schoolchildren who use bus transportation are directed to the back of the school where they will be picked up by busses in about 15 minutes and taken to their appropriate stops.

UPDATE 11:04 a.m.: Jim Sanders, who was inside Max Pies Furniture when the fire broke out, said: "I walked out of the store because I seen smoke. So I walked around the building and I could see the fire coming out the whole back of the house. So I called 9-1-1. ... It wasn't more than a few minutes than the fire company arrived. They were putting water on our building (Max Pies) so it wouldn't catch ours."

UPDATE 11:20 a.m.: Five dogs perished in this fire. The loading area for the children to board buses was changed to the nearby Ascension Parish parking lot. Some children have been picked up or are waiting for buses/rides inside the parish rec hall.

UPDATE 11:26 a.m.: "Heard like a car going by, revving it's engine," said eyewitness Tim Balonek. "A heard a whoosh, a big whoosh. Then I looked out and the back window was totally engulfed in flames. That's when I called (for) the fire department. They already had trucks on the way."

UPDATE 11:41 a.m.: Interim Fire Chief Dan Herberger said the fire call came in shortly before 10 o'clock this morning and upon arrival firefighters found advanced fire and started an aggressive interior response. Subsequently, high winds prompted them to change to defensive tactics and crews were ordered out of the building. "(The structure) was a business at some point. So it's heavily cut up with additions. It makes it challenging." Max Pies store is only 10 feet away but suffered no significant damage. Two adults and one child made it out of the burning structure safely. "Unfortunately, five dogs perished," Herberger said. No firefighters or other people were injured; the person who was evaluated in the school bus loop for possible smoke inhalation was not transported to the hospital. Herberger said they called for the school to be evacuated as a precautionary measure. There was a lot of smoke blowing around. Witnesses said the school evacuation went smoothly; some children were scared and crying when they left and some parents appeared "a little freaked out," but things were handled calmly and orderly nonetheless. All bags/belongings were supposed to be left at the school.

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