Fire under investigation at Frank Cochran Center

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The scene at Highland Park was chaotic Wednesday morning as fire crews responded to a fire at the Frank Cochran Center.

"I seen the smoke and all of a sudden I seen the fire trucks and then I saw another police car so I said 'Let me see what's going on',” said Meridian resident Gilbert Sanders.

The 911 call went out around 10:45 Wednesday morning. Heavy smoke poured from the facility, but crews managed to keep the fire contained to a corner of the building.

"The guys made entry and pretty much blacked it out pretty quickly,” said Fire Chief Ricky Leister.

After the fire was under control, crews checked for hot spots.

Several city leaders rushed to the scene, including Mayor Percy Bland.

"Whenever you get a call that one of your iconic buildings, as old as it may be, is on fire it just stops you so we ran right on over here,” said Mayor Bland.

The Frank Cochran center is a popular multi-purpose building used for rentals and special events. The building was also being used for the parks and recreation department's youth basketball league.

"We've got to call those people back because it's not going to be usable as you can see for a while, so we just got a lot of things that we've got to figure out,” said Bland.

Chief Ricky Leister said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"We’ll send an investigator in and start running down the area and possibly get to the cause,” said Leister.

It could take weeks to investigate and clean the building. There’s no word on when the center will be open again.