Two people died Friday morning in a St. James Parish apartment fire, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said in a news release.

The cause of the deadly fire is under investigation and heating devices in the apartment are being examined.

The Union Convent Volunteer Fire Department was called shortly after 1 a.m. to 6202-101 Rev. Thomas Scott St. to a report that an apartment complex was on fire, Browning said in the release.

When firefighters arrived they discovered the entire eight-unit, single story building to be consumed by flames, Browning said.

First responders were able to save nearly 25 people from the apartments.

Two occupants in apartment F died in their home.

The bodies of 59-year-old Shirley M. Howard and 54-year-old Ray Mitchell were found by firefighters and pronounced dead at the scene by the St. James Parish Coroner, Browning said.

The building is owned and operated by the St. James Parish Housing and Urban Development Program, he said.

Browning said investigators believe smoke alarms alerted residents of the fire but it has not been confirmed if the alarm in apartment F was working.

The St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office is also working jointly in this investigation.