A young boy died Friday morning in a Zion City house fire despite Baton Rouge firefighters’ best efforts to rescue the child from the blazing home.
Relatives of the 2-year-old boy identified him as Marquez Veals, a playful toddler who was at home with two other people when the fire occurred. The two adults — neither was a parent of Marquez’s — escaped the burning home unharmed, said Mark Miles, a Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman.
After escaping, the two adults tried to go back inside for the child, Miles said, but flames and smoke forced them to retreat.
Firefighters were called to the home in the 5300 block of Paige Street at 10:49 a.m. The blaze’s intensity upon arrival required some fire fighting before first responders could make rescue attempts, Miles said.
The boy eventually was found dead inside the home’s kitchen. The cause of the fire was undetermined as of early Friday afternoon, Miles said.
Relatives and friends of Marquez gathered outside a home across the street from the fire. Just outside the yellow crime scene tape, they mourned the loss of the boy.
“Marquez was an energetic, happy little boy,” Nicole Veals Brown, the boy’s aunt, said.
Relatives of the child said he could often be seen playing in the front yard of the Paige Street home, which sits a few blocks east of Plank Road and north of Airline Highway.
“He used to always ride that scooter,” said Lazandra Singleton, a family friend of the Veals’, while pointing at a scooter on the front porch of the burned home. Singleton described Marquez as a joyful child — a boy who will be sorely missed by her own young son.
“All the kids in the neighborhood are going to be overwhelmed when they get home from school and see that his house is burned,” Singleton said.
It wasn’t immediately clear who was with the boy when the fire began. When the child’s mother arrived at the scene, she fainted and had to be taken to a hospital, Miles said.
The boy’s father is incarcerated, according to family members at the scene.
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