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Resident will be booked into jail for starting apartment fire

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BATON ROUGE - Firefighters are expected to book the resident of an apartment where a fire started into jail Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

Investigators said John Musa Akbar set his porch on fire with a cigarette lighter. The flames quickly spread to neighboring apartments at a complex in the 2000 block of Sherwood Meadow.

The blaze, which broke out just before sunset Wednesday, burned four units.  Two were destroyed and the other two were severely damaged.  Pictures and video compiled by WBRZ news crews on the scene show the roofs of two burned off.


Smoke could be seen billowing into the sky from the WBRZ tower camera position near downtown Baton Rouge, nearly nine miles from the scene of the fire.

The Baton Rouge Fire Department said the fire reached a second alarm, meaning additional manpower was called to the scene.  When the first crew arrived, flames were pouring out of the building.  It took 40 firefighters about 59 minutes to contain the fire, a department spokesperson said.

Fourteen people were displaced and the Red Cross said they were helping at least two families find a place to stay after the fire.  Included in the number of people who became homeless because of the blaze were seven kids.

Firefighters said East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's deputies and Baton Rouge Police officers patrolling the area were able to evacuate the complex before fire crews arrived, likely saving lives.

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