Information officer Jeff Hildreth reported that firefighters responded to a call at 11:43 p.m. at Apt. 1 in the complex and found heavy smoke showing upon arrival at 11:45 p.m.
They called for assistance immediately and Baldwin, Chitimacha and Centerville fire departments responded.
Hildreth said when firefighters entered the second-floor of the apartment smoke was so heavy they could not locate the source of the fire, and they exited immediately. The entire complex was evacuated with assistance from Franklin Police.
At that point a closet door “flashed” and the whole second floor of the apartment burst into flame, Hildreth said.
After the flash, firefighters went back in and were able to control the source of the fire quickly.
The blaze apparently started under the floor near the closet, and is suspected to have been electrical, but the investigation is ongoing. Firefighters left the scene at 2:45 a.m. Sunday.
Resident Shondra Thomas and her two daughters were not at home when the fire started. No injuries were reported.
Electrical service to the entire building remains shut off. The American Red Cross has provided temporary shelter for the tenants of the eight units.
Hildreth estimated the damage at $40,000 to the apartment, and $7,500 to contents.
St. Mary Emergency Aid, United Way of South Louisiana, is taking donations for the Thomas family, including clothing for the two girls, ages 5 and 6.