Around 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday (March 27, 2019) Franklinton Fire & Rescue responded to a fire call in the 45000 block of Beau Drive north of Franklinton and found found two adults and three children outside of the mobile home. The family indicated there were still two children unaccounted for. Firefighters later located the bodies of the two children, one a 10-year-old girl, the other a 6-year-old boy, in separate bedrooms.
Witness statements indicate the 3-year-old boy noticed the fire and alerted a male adult. The male adult escaped through a window with the toddler. While the adult female attempted to access the other children, a neighbor pulled her from the home. In the meantime, the escaped adult male re-entered the home from the front where he pulled two of the children to safety. Attempts to reach the remaining two children were unsuccessful.
The three children that were able to escape were airlifted to Baton Rouge-area hospitals. A 4-year-old girl remains in critical condition, a 6-year-old girl is in the pediatric ICU and a 3-year-old boy is in stable condition. The adult male suffered mild smoke inhalation and cuts, but did not receive medical treatment. An adult female was unharmed by the fire.
The adults and three of the children were residents of the mobile home. The two additional children in the home at the time of the fire are cousins of the resident family. The deceased 10-year-old resided in the home, while the deceased 6-year-old was visiting for the night.
Official identification of the victims and preliminary causes of death are pending autopsies being conducted by the Washington Parish Coroner’s Office.
Investigators believe the fire began in a bedroom in the center of the structure, where the 10-year-old was found. While an exact cause remains under investigation, there are no suspicious circumstances at this time. Smoke alarms were found in the home ; however investigators have been unable to confirm they were working.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office would like to remind all residents that smoke alarms make a significant difference in your chances of surviving a fire. “If you lay your head down in your home tonight without knowing whether your family is protected by working smoke alarms, you are going to sleep in danger,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning. The SFM would also like to encourage all families to develop and practice a home escape plan that leaves every person in your home aware of at least two exits out of every room in the house.