Fire Destroys Louisiana Gym, Thousands of Dollars in Donations Held There

November 5, 2018

A fire destroyed a south Louisiana gym and thousands of dollars in donations being held there ahead of a charity fundraiser.

WVUE-TV reported that a fire Wednesday night destroyed the Garyville Recreation Center gym in St. John Parish.

A fundraiser was to be held in a few days to benefit the nonprofit Perry’s Posse, which was started by Tanya Roccaforte in memory of her godchild who died of leukemia. They hold a twice-a-year garage sale to support the organization, and proceeds from the sale benefit other cancer patients.

“Four months we collected and went out and emptied out houses, trailer loads and storage bins,” said Roccaforte.

But Wednesday night she watched as hard work and donations burned inside the gym.

“We sat here for four hours and just watched, just watched in disbelief, and then this morning when we looked at the building, it was like, nope, not a dream, this really happened,” said Roccaforte.

The fire marshal is investigating but early indications are the blaze started as an electrical fire in the kitchen.

Roccaforte says her group is still figuring out its next steps but she’s vowing to continue the organization’s mission.

Garyville Fire Chief Cain Dufrene called the building’s destruction “heartbreaking” because so many people in the community had a strong connection to the building.

“We have several guys on the department that played rec here, or their family, dads, uncles played rec here. It’s a staple of the community,” said Dufrene.

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