21 people lose visas, other vital documents in Baton Rouge apartment fire
BATON ROUGE - Massive flames destroyed eight units at the Hub apartment complex over the weekend.
Crews arrived around 1 p.m. Saturday to find the entire roof of one building completely engulfed in flames. Firefighters even had to back out of the apartment at one point due to a roof collapse.
As the fire ravaged the building, more than 30 people watched helplessly as the fire destroyed their homes. But 21 of those victims also lost some incredibly important documents.
"We lost our laptops, our documents, our passports, our I-20s... We lost everything," said Nikhita Reddy Puntikura, who is originally from India."Everything is burnt, everything turned into ash."
For Nikhita these documents are the only way she can remain in the states and finally get her degrees. Making matters worse, they were only five days from receiving their Master's and PHDs from Southern University.
"We are totally lost. We are completely lost," Sharath Teja Aila said.
Now the harsh reality is sinking in. Despite spending years trying to build a stable life in this country, a walk across Southern's stage is now a long shot without those documents.
And the only way any of those displaced by the fire can get any help is from the consolate of India. However, that's all the way in the Houston, far out of their reach.