Friday’s fatal house fire on Balis Drive that left a husband and wife dead may have been caused by overloaded surge protectors in the living room near the television set, Baton Rouge Fire Department officials said Monday.

Department spokesman Curt Monte said one surge protector was plugged into another and that the second one was plugged into the wall. The outlets in each strip were filled with plugs.

“They are leaning toward that as a factor in the fire” but are not saying that caused it, Monte said.

Ezekiel Jackson, 71, and his wife, Gloria Jackson, 63, both died in the apartment fire that occurred at about 12:16 p.m., even though firefighters were able to bring it under control 15 minutes after arriving.

The house is located at 2712 Balis St., near College Drive and beneath Interstate 10.

The fire was contained to the Jackson’s apartment, but the two neighboring apartments were damaged by smoke.

The couple’s son, who lived with them, tried to save both parents, but could not. All three were sleeping when the fire broke out.

The son was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation, but investigators have said the injury is not believed to be serious, the department said.

Since there is no criminal act likely involved in the fire, Monte said the investigation will end now that investigators have a point of origin and a possible cause.

Authorities book 3 on suspicion of DWI

Authorities arrested at least three people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 2:30 p.m. Monday, booking records show.

Those booked and the counts against them:

  • Wesley Burnett, 24, 483 Meador Drive, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, first-offense DWI, resisting an officer, careless operation and improper lane usage.
  • Justin Entremont, 21, 16251 Hubbs Road, Pride, first-offense DWI, possession of alcohol in vehicle and careless operation.
  • Ike McDonald, 32, 391 Heliotrope St., Port Allen, first-offense DWI, reckless operation, driver’s license suspended/revoked, careless driving and failure to transfer registration.

Compiled from staff reports. To talk to a crime reporter at The Advocate, call (225) 388-0369.