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Three homes catch on fire Tuesday as residents try to keep warm

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BATON ROUGE - Amid freezing temperatures in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, some took drastic measures to keep warm.

The Baton Rouge Fire Department said calls for help ranged from accidents to intentional fires which got out of hand. Fire officials said some of the hazards could have been prevented.

Around 8 a.m., a vacant home along North 12th Street went up in flames. Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesperson Justin Hill said the fire was intentional. Investigators said people brought building materials into the home and started a fire to stay warm.

"There were some reports from the neighbors that there were some people that were in and out of the house," Hill said. "It was a vacant house, and there were some people in and out of the house."

No injuries were reported in that fire. 

An hour and a half later, a space heater inside a home on Byron Avenue went up in flames. Six adults and three children were living in the home. One adult was taken to a hospital with severe burns.  

An employee of a sandwich shop nearby said he watched as smoke billowed from the home into the sky. 

"I saw the smoke come from that house. A lot of police cars, and the fire department were here," the man said.

Hill noted that with freezing temps being so rare in Louisiana, proper care for space heaters might not be common knowledge. 

"We don't use them that often, and we get a little complacent when we're using them," Hill said. "Any kind of appliance we want to make sure we're keeping them at least three feet away from anything that's flammable."

Hill added that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are important in avoiding such disasters. 

A home on Capital Heights Avenue caught fire Tuesday afternoon when a resident lit their fireplace and the smoke was not properly ventilating. Instead of escaping from the chimney flue, smoke was coming out of the house siding. 

Firefighters were able to contain the flames. 

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