Unattended barbecue grill started fire at apartment complex, fire official says

An unattended barbecue grill is apparently to blame for an overnight fire at the Boardwalk Place Apartments in Denham Springs, which left residents from 12 units displaced, officials said Tuesday.

The fire, which took four hours to control and another hour to extinguish, likely was started by the unattended barbecue grill, said Assistant Chief Charlie Weaver, of Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 5.

District 5 responded to the fire at around 2:30 a.m. and found an apartment balcony on fire, Weaver said.

The fire spread across the attic and caught the top of the complex at 8275 Vincent Road on fire, Weaver said.

About 40 firefighters from District 5, the Denham Springs Fire Department and neighboring District 4 in Walker battled the blaze, Weaver said.

The third story of the building was a loss while the first and second floors were heavily damaged by water, he said.

“The Fire Marshal’s Office inspected and determined it was caused by an unattended barbecue pit on the balcony,” Weaver said.

Authorities believe the small grill, which was sitting on a wooden table with unextinguished coals, was used earlier in the afternoon, Weaver said.

Weaver said all but three or four of the apartment’s 12 units were occupied.

“Our hearts go out to these residents and families,” said Bobbi Zaunbrecher, executive of the Louisiana Capital Area Chapter of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross helped residents of seven of the apartment units, including 12 adults and three children who received services for food, clothing, shoes, air mattresses, personal care supplies and other guidance such as how to clean salvaged items and replace key documents like driver’s licenses, said Nancy Malone, also of the Red Cross.