Huge fire destroys part of apartment building

Source: Mark Thorburn
Source: Mark Thorburn

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Firefighters were called out to a huge fire at an apartment complex early Tuesday morning.

Livingston Parish District Fire Chief Joe Koczrowski reported the Boardwalk Place Apartments in Denham Springs caught fire around 2:30 a.m. The apartments are located at 8275 Vincent Road.

He said crews arrived on the scene to find the third floor of the complex engulfed in flames. He added five of the 12 units received heavy fire damage, while the rest have heavy smoke and water damage.

Koczrowski said everyone in the complex made it out safely. No injuries were reported. Some residents have lost all of their belongings, but they are thankful to be alive.

"I inhaled all the smoke and I was coughing and I ran," said Breanna Vice. "I didn't even get anything. I didn't get my wallet. I didn't get anything, but I am so blessed because I'm still here and everyone please pray for us."

Koczrowski reported firemen also rescued rabbits, a dog, and a cat.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but Koczrowski issued an advisory for people that could possibly prevent other fires.

"The main thing is a lot of people in these apartment complexes have barbecue pits," said Koczrowski. "They cook. They put a barbecue pit on the third floor. I'm not saying that's what happened, but what I'm saying is you have to be mindful of what you're doing. Some people, they smoke outside. Make sure the cigarettes are out because little fires can turn into big fires."

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

A massive blaze sparked at the same apartment complex nearly five years ago. There were also no injuries when fire destroyed one of the buildings of the complex on June 19, 2009.

There was also a fire at the complex in 2007. Officials ruled it was caused by lightning.

The American Red Cross is assisting the tenants displaced by the apartment fire. They helped tenants in seven of the units destroyed in the fire. Based on their needs, 12 adults and three children received Red Cross services for food, clothing, shoes, air mattresses, personal care supplies, and other guidance such as how to clean salvaged items and replace key documents such as driver licenses.

Spokeswoman Nancy Malone said when it comes to safety, people can start with one important thing.

"You must have a smoke alarm that is working in your home," said Malone. "It provides crucial seconds and moments for you to be able to escape if there is a disaster."

Red Cross volunteer Sandy Joslyn's son lived on the top floor of the building. She said she was relieved that he and no one else were hurt.

"I know many people in the apartment complex have come around and tried to help other people out," said Joslyn. "That is really encouraging for both my son and other people here."

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