Overloaded power strips may be cause of fatal fire on Balis Street _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Investigators look over materials removed from a house that caught on fire and claimed the life of two people Friday, Oct. 3, at 2712 Balis Drive. The Baton Rouge Fire Department is continuing to investigate the fatal fire that occurred mid afternoon Friday.

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., despite firefighters bringing it under control 15 minutes after arriving at 2712 Balis St., near College Drive and beneath Interstate 10, fire officials said.

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

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.