WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A fire in West Baton Rouge Parish claimed the lives of an elderly man and a boy early Friday morning, leaving a woman and girl injured, officials said.
Family members identified the victims as Henry Williams, 74, and Trevor Baker, 10. Williams died when he went back inside the building to try to rescue the boy, according to family.
"I was just here at 11 o'clock last night. I was just here with my babies and stepdad," said Baker's mother, LaTonya. "You have to cherish each other, life is just too short."
Crews responded to a fire at a home on River Road near Allendale Road around 6 a.m. on Friday, February 2.
At the time of the fire, Williams and Baker were inside, along with Carolyn Baker, 55, and Shynia Baker, 9. Carolyn is the grandmother of the two children. When the fire began, family members say Carolyn grabbed a blanket and covered the kids as they tried to escape. Once outside, they realized Trevor was missing. Family members say Williams ran back inside, hoping to find the boy. Neither of them made it.
"I wouldn't have thought either, I would have gone in there myself because that's what you do as a family," said Michael Miller, Carolyn's brother.
LaTonya Baker described her son as energetic and says he loved cars. "He was awesome," she said. "He was older in mind. He would hold a conversation with you and you'd wonder, 'Who is this guy?'"
Carolyn and Shynia Baker were taken to the Baton Rouge General Burn Center for treatment. They were later released from the hospital.
Investigators believe the blaze at the home began when a container of lamp oil came in contact with the flame of a gas heater.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says there have been 43 fire-related deaths since the beginning of December. "These numbers are disturbing to me and it's time for action," Browning said, calling on people to install fire alarms and have an escape plan so these sorts of tragedies do not have to happen again.
The Lobdell Fire Department initially responded to the fire.