BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An elderly couple died when their home in Valley Park caught fire on Friday afternoon. Their daughter, Regina Mitchell, said she had just left their home on 2712 Balis Dr. after picking up two children.
"It doesn't even feel real," Mitchell said.
Mitchell is having a tough time comprehending what happened.
Flames quickly ripped through the Jackson's small apartment home as firefighters rushed to the triplex tucked behind a row of homes near the I-10.
"When firefighters arrived they noticed fire rolling from the windows and the front door," Mark Miles with the Baton Rouge Fire Department said.
Relatives, friends, and neighbors watched frantically as firefighters fought the flames and hurried inside to search for Ezekiel Jackson, 70, who was bedridden, and his wife Gloria Jackson, 64.
Mitchell said they were babysitting her child and grandchild just 30 minutes earlier. When she returned and saw the scene unfolding, she could not stand and watch.
"They would not let me get in. I was trying to get in. I wasn't thinking," Mitchell said.
Seconds later Mitchell got the news that turned her world upside down. Her brother, Percy Reed, 37, managed to escape. Her parents did not. Reports say Reed tried to get his parents out of the burning building.
Firefighters took a knee at the foot of the front door.
"Most of the time they'll take a moment just to say a prayer for them because a loss of life affects us all," Miles said. Reports say Gloria and Ezekiel died from smoke inhalation.
Miles said no one was inside the two neighboring apartments, but they were able to rescue someone's dog.
Reed was taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Mitchell said she and her family have a strong support system but, she said, she lost the woman who brought them together.
"My mom was my best friend, my best friend," Mitchell said.
Firefighters believe the fire started in the kitchen. The cause is under investigation.
Red Cross was called to help the family.