WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - The Karate World building in Waveland went up in flames early Wednesday morning, leaving officials searching for the cause. Two apartments inside of the building on Highway 90 were also severely damaged, but the tenants made it out unharmed.
A day after the fire broke out, Alyssa Thorman dodged drops of fire hydrant water to get to anything she could salvage from her scorched apartment. Fire and water destroyed everything she owned.
"I got woke up to a fire, and this is how it ended. It's horrible," explained Thorman.
Thorman and her family lived in one of two apartments in the building. The karate school occupied a space on the second floor. The owner of the building says when he pulled up, he couldn't believe his eyes.
"When I got here it was blazing out the top real bad," said owner Rannie Ladner.
Ladner's karate training school has been a fixture in Waveland for nearly 30 years. To him, the fire takes away a lot more than a building and material things.
"There's a lot of memories in this school. There's a lot of kids that's come through this place and trained that have gone on and been very successful in life. That's what karate is all about is molding these young kids," said Ladner. "I've spent many years and at first it didn't bother me, but when it started to sink in, it really started to bother me. All the years I put into this and spent with these young kids."
Ladner estimates close to 10,000 children have trained in the school; which he calls his heart and soul. While he doesn't know exactly how, he's certain he'll start over so his passion can continue.
Ladner credits not suffering a complete loss to the the fact that the fire department was a stone's throw away from his building.