Fire damages lounge, spreads to more buildings

A roaring fire gutted the Time Out Lounge on Old Hammond Highway on Friday morning, destroying a nearby apartment complex and damaging an adjacent strip mall before firefighters could extinguish the flames.

Two people suffered smoke inhalation in the blaze, fire officials said, and one firefighter was being treated for a possible second-degree burn caused by falling embers.

Ten fire trucks were on the scene as the Baton Rouge and St. George fire departments battled the massive fire, which began sometime after 5:30 a.m.

The lounge appeared to be a total loss and the strip mall received smoke and water damage, said Robert Combs, a Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman. Combs said the cause of the blaze remained under investigation. He said there was nothing to indicate it was suspicious.

“It’s going to take some time to determine” the cause, Combs said.

About 10 people were displaced by the destruction of the nearby, six-unit apartment complex, Combs said.

Roads near the fire were shut down. Old Hammond Highway was closed in both directions from Drusilla Lane to Tara Boulevard while firefighters tried to extinguish the blaze.

The Time Out Lounge was a neighborhood bar featuring pool tables, dart boards and music.

It was previously damaged by a two-alarm fire in 1992.