BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – Officials confirmed a 5-year-old girl died in a two-alarm apartment fire Tuesday evening in Baton Rouge.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department said firefighters responded to a blaze at the Cedarwood Apartment on Cedarcrest Avenue around 7 p.m.
The cause of the fire has not been determined and is under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.
The child’s name has not been released. The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office will confirm the girl’s identity.
The girl was reported missing from the scene by family members. Firefighters and police searched the complex for her for hours. Relatives said they lost her while trying to escape the fire. Officials discovered the girl’s body around 11 p.m. Her family was notified by officials before it was released that she was found dead.
The search and rescue process began right after firefighters arrived on the scene, but they had to be pulled from the building because the roof was beginning to collapse, officials said.
They reported about 50 to 60 firefighters were on the scene. The St. George Fire Department was also called out to assist. Officials said they were not able to get a truck to the back of the building, so they had to run multiple water hoses around to the back of the building in order to put out the fire.
According to officials, four people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. They added two people reportedly jumped from a window in order to escape the fire.
Although it isn’t clear how the fire began, officials believe it started among four middle units of the building. All of the units are connected by an attic space, which contributed to the spread of the fire.
The fire was brought under control just before 10 p.m.
The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal is assisting with the investigation. Deputy fire marshals arrived on the scene around 10:30 p.m.
The American Red Cross has been helping residents after the tragic fire. Officials said at least 24 units in the apartment complex were affected by the blaze. They added more than a dozen Red Cross disaster responders have been supporting the efforts and volunteers opened a shelter on Kernan Avenue, where about 10 of the residents are staying.