Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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State investigators combing through charred apartment complex

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BATON ROUGE- State Investigators with the Fire Marshal's Office are sifting through the charred remains of the apartment where a five-year-old girl died Tuesday night.

The big question is whether the building was up to code. That answer likely won't come for a few days as the State Fire Marshal's Office conducts their investigation.

The Cedarwood Apartment complex was constructed before a building-wide fire alarm or sprinklers were required. Wednesday, investigators went room by room sifting through the remains. That will give them a better idea of how the fire managed to spread so quickly.

"In the coming days, the investigation will shift to a degree," Brant Thompson, with the State Fire Marshal's Office, said. "We will delve deeper into the construction aspects of the building. Not only do we want to determine the condition of the remaining structures affected by fire, smoke and water, but what was the condition of the building pre-fire."

According to the State Fire Marshal, requirements for sprinklers didn't come until the 1990's. Buildings before that requirement were grandfathered in, meaning they are not forced to have those devices.

The State Fire Marshal's Office says sprinklers and alarms have cut back on fire deaths in commercial buildings built after that requirement was put into place. In the coming days, details about the building will show whether building management was in compliance, the night the fire started.

"We've requested blue prints associated with the construction of the venue, as well as inspection reports, historical data that we can pull together," Thompson said.

The Investigative Unit also requested those reports. We're waiting on those reports.


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