Child dies in Grosse Tete trailer fire; fundraising efforts in place

Staff Report

An investigation continues into the cause of a mobile home fire in Grosse Tete that took the life of a 6-year-old boy on the on the morning of Wednesday, April 28.

Meanwhile, a fundraiser is underway for the family who lost their home and loved one in the blaze.

A fire at the corner of Elm and Willow Street in Grosse Tete took the life of a 6-year-old boy on April 28. Fundraising efforts are underway to help the family.

A fundraiser by Baton Rouge nonprofit agency Chez Fab seeks donations that will go to help the family with the loss of their home and belongings, which were destroyed in the fire. A GoFundMe account is also planned for the family.

More information on the fundraising efforts can be found on Facebook on the Chez Fab site.

Other fundraising efforts will likely take place in the Village of Grosse Tete, according to Mayor Mike Chauffe.

“It’s a terrible situation when you lose anybody, but when you lose a 6-year-old helpless child, it’s even sadder,” Chauffe said. “We’re a close-knit community that has always reached out to people here when they’re in need, so I’m sure we will have fundraisers and other events to help this family. We continue to keep all of them in our prayers.”

Firefighters from the Grosse Tete Fire Department responded to the fire call on the corner of Willow Street and Elm Street shortly after 8 a.m., according to State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.

Deputies learned just prior to the fire, there were four occupants in the home; a mother, a teenage girl and two school-age children. Witness statements indicated the mother left briefly to drop off a relative at work, and while gone, the remaining occupants noticed smoke and escaped the mobile home. Once outside, the teenager noticed only she and a female child were out of the home and could not locate the remaining male child.

“The teenager reentered the home to find the boy, and when checking his bedroom, located heavy fire and smoke,” Browning said. The teenager eventually had to retreat the home once again due to the intensity of the fire and smoke.”

Following an assessment of the scene, including witness statements from the two occupants who escaped, deputies have determined the fire began in a bedroom, where the victim was located.

At this time, while the exact cause of the fire is still being investigated, it is believed that the source of the fire is electrical in nature in the area of a window A/C unit, according to Browning.

Deputies were able to confirm the presence of smoke alarms in the home but have been unable to confirm they were working at the time of the fire.  However, the SFM would like to take this opportunity to remind all Louisiana families about our Operation Save-A-Life program. Operation Save-A-Life partners with local fire departments and districts to provide FREE smoke alarm installations, at any time of the year, for families in need of assistance accessing the critical emergency-alert equipment.