The LeBeau Plantation house burned down Friday morning in what local Fire Chief Thomas Stone reportedly said was a suspicious fire.
Located in Arabi, La., the LeBeau Plantation was built in 1850 and was once the largest plantation south of New Orleans. It was one of only two plantation homes in the region to survive into the 21st century, according to Old-New-Orleans.com
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"Every chief's worst nightmare is to have a historical structure destroyed in their community, and that is what happened here," Stone told Nola.com Friday morning
. "We got the call around 2:11 a.m. and the first unit that got on the scene said it was engulfed in fire. ... It was total devastation."
According to Stone, six fire engines and two rescue squads consisting of 25 firefighters assisted in battling the blaze early Friday morning.
After the flames were beat back and the smoke settled, all that remained standing was the plantation's four chimneys and a section of its interior brick wall, Nola noted.
The plantation house, which was owned by the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation, was vacant at the time of the fire. The historic house has not been occupied since the 1980s.
On Friday, the foundation's president Rita Gue said her family "is so saddened by this fire and we are anxious to see the investigation go forward and see what it is all about. ... It is just a real unfortunate sad day for all of us."
The plantation house had been used as a hotel, boarding house, private residence, and illegal casino over the years.
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