BRUSLY, La. (BRPROUD) – The lives of 18 people were changed after a fire tore through the Riverside Village Apartments on Sunday, February 12.

Five engines with the West Baton Rouge Parish Fire Department responded to the complex just before 6 p.m. and immediately went to work putting the fire out. According to Chief Butch Browning, it took around an hour to get the fire under control. Browning said the apartments sustained a lot of damage and firefighters were able to keep the blaze from spreading to other structures.

Four units were affected by this fire along with two single mothers and 14 children, according to Shantel Atkins, manager at Riverside Village Apartments. Atkins said, “the fire was devastating for me, so I can only imagine how my tenants feel. I haven’t slept much and I wonder what I can do to help. It’s been rough and I can only imagine what the moms feel taking on their children’s pain and trying to handle rebuilding.”

Brusly Police Department

One of the mothers currently in the process of rebuilding is Rachael Pointer. Pointer and her six children, Jailyn, Houston IV, Marvin, Gregory Jr, Christian, and Kamryn, are now looking for a place to live. Pointer said everyone was watching television when a neighbor knocked on the door and asked if she could call 911 due to a fire in their unit.

Pointer said she then saw smoke in their unit and everyone got out safely. Since the fire took place, Pointer said her family has been stressed and overwhelmed with the recovery. The single mother wants to remain positive and is thankful for those who have given her family food and clothing. Pointer said that “all we can do is take it day by day knowing that God’s got us.”

Shacosta Tillman was in another unit with her three children, Jamell, Jacobi, and Keshana, after just returning home from the store when the fire made them flee. Tillman, along with her children, is also looking for a new place to call home. For now, the family of four is staying in a hotel. The single mother said they are in need of clothing, food, and shoes.

If you would like to help these families, Atkins said you can drop off whatever you are able to donate at the apartment office which is located at 789 South Vaughn Street.

There were no reported injuries related to this fire. The Louisiana State Fire Marshal is still trying to determine what started the fire. The Red Cross was requested to help those who were displaced by the blaze.