BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As of May 7, officials say 34 people are without a home after a major fire destroyed eight units in a Baton Rouge apartment complex.
According to the Baton Rouge Fire Department, the blaze started Saturday at roughly 1:15 p.m. The two-alarm fire broke out in building 21 at The Hub apartments, 5151 Highland Rd., an apartment complex, which is located near Lee Dr., that houses several LSU and Southern students
The tense moments as the fire ripped through the complex were caught on camera. The Hub apartments went up in flames.
One resident said the thick smoke and chaos surrounding the complex at the time was like nothing he'd ever seen.
"I was coming from the gym and it was just lit, like fire was everywhere and smoke," said Johnathan Price. "I seen the smoke really and when I came up the stairs I just seen fire."
Firefighters with Baton Rouge Fire Department arrived on the scene within minutes to find the roof of one unit fully engulfed.
"We made entry into the building but had to quickly retreat that because of roof collapse for the safety of the firefighters," said Curt Monte, spokesman for BRFD.
Monte says it took firefighters roughly two hours to get the fire under control, but not before eight units were destroyed. Luckily, no one was hurt.
"We're going to be out here for the duration to make sure each hot spot is put out and that this building won't cause any more safety concerns," Monte said.
Donovan Jackson lives in one of the units that was claimed by the fire. It was a temporary home after his house flooded last August. He says it is hard to lose everything all over again.
"I was in the apartment when the building was burning," Jackson said. "I was kind of going through it all over again. It's a little bit devastating but, you know, I have my life and my dog."
His dog Zoey panicked during the commotion of the fire but Jackson says he knew he could not leave the burning building without her.
"I had to kind of run around the apartment with her a little bit, but luckily I finally was able to get her out, but that was my first instinct - to get my dog out," he added.
After surviving the historic flood and now a devastating fire, Jackson says there is still hope - and an important lesson to be learned in the face of such harsh circumstances.
"I'm learning that the people that's close to you, the experiences that you learn in life, those are things that you can take and be with you," Jackson said. "But material things, those things don't matter."
Thankfully, there were no reported injuries. Red Cross was on the scene assisting the residents. Baton Rouge Police Department, Emergency Medical Services, and Entergy were also at the scene to offer assistance.
The cause of the fire is unknown is under investigation, although foul play is not suspected.
It was originally reported 21 people were displaced, but on May 7 officials with Red Cross said the total number was 34 people. According to Nancy Malone with Red Cross, all displaced residents are now being housed at the complex in spare rooms that have recently become available as students are moving out.