Investigators determine cause of fire that killed 5-year-old girl
BATON ROUGE - Investigators have determined the cause of the apartment fire that killed a 5-year-old girl Tuesday night.
According to the State Fire Marshal, the fire was started when an 18-year-old put a pot of grease on the stove to fry some chicken and left to go take the trash out. When she returned, the apartment had heavy smoke and flames.
The 18-year-old was questioned about the fire, which appears to have been an accident, officials say.
Firefighters found the body of 5-year-old Treasure Garner, who was not able to escape a raging inferno in Baton Rouge Tuesday evening. She died of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.
Garner was found dead about four-and-a-half hours after the original call for help from people who live at the Cedarwood Apartments on Cedarcrest Ave. Earlier in the night, shaken firefighters said it was unlikely the child, a girl, survived the blaze. The child's body was found around 11:30 p.m. in the apartment where she was last seen.
The fire was so great, fire fighters said in a live news conference on WBRZ News 2 at 10:00, there was "not a chance of survival" for the child.
Firefighters returned to the scene of the fire Wednesday morning to "wet down" a smoldering hot spot.
Family and friends comforted each other as firefighters worked the fire.
In a live interview during the TV newscast, a fire department official told WBRZ reporter Brett Buffington, it's unclear as to what sparked the blaze.
Crews first responded to the fire at the complex on Cedarcrest Ave. around 7 p.m. Video from WBRZ crews that arrived shortly after firefighters recorded images of massive flames pouring from the building.
About 90 minutes after the call to 911, the child's family said the unidentified girl was missing.
An eyewitness said, "We rushed outside.. saw [the building] in flames. [There was a lady saying] 'where's my baby, where's my baby?'"
"It started with one apartment [then] going onto the next, onto the next," the witness told WBRZ.
Three other people were injured in the fire. Specific information about their injuries has not been released.
For much of the evening, authorities closed Cedarcrest at Coursey Blvd.
Fire investigators said they will talk to witnesses as they work to figure out what started the fire.
The American Red Cross has been helping the more than 40 displaced residents of the 24 damaged apartment units. A shelter was opened on Tuesday night wehre about 10 of the residents were staying.
Monitor WBRZ feeds Wednesday for updates to this story.