Three Die in Weekend Fires, Louisiana

Weekend fires killed at least three people in Louisiana -- an elderly couple in Baton Rouge and a 45-year-old woman in Shreveport. Both houses were destroyed, but four people escaped from the house in Shreveport.

Wilma Bruton of Shreveport and Raymond Moore, 81, and his wife, Betty Moore, 76, in Baton Rouge all apparently died of smoke inhalation in early-morning fires Saturday.

Bruton's 14-year-old son, Eric Bruton, rescued his 5-year-old nephew but couldn't save his mother.

''He went back in to get his mama out but he couldn't. Too much smoke. It was the smoke that killed her,'' said Wilma Bruton's daughter-in-law, Lacole Ball, 20.

Ball said she and her year-old daughter were asleep when neighbors' woke her, shouting and beating on the walls and windows of the one-story wood-frame house. She opened the bedroom door to heavy smoke. ''I broke out the window and threw my baby outside,'' she said.

With Shamaricy Bruton safe in a neighbor's arms, Ball rushed to the front of the house, where she saw Eric carrying Jamorria Bruton out.

They lived thanks to quick action by neighbors and people passing by, firefighters said.

Oliver Love said he was driving home from work about 12:45 a.m. when he saw the flames. He jumped out of his car, called 911 and ran to help.

''There was so much smoke. I couldn't see no more; I had to turn back around and get out,'' he said. ''They was saying Sugar Mama was in house, but the house was burning. ... I told them we did the best we could in getting them other two kids out.''

The Bruton boys were taken to LSU Hospital in Shreveport for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation, Fire Department spokesman Brian Crawford said.

He said Wilma Bruton's body was face down on a bed in a front bedroom next to the living room, where investigators think the blaze began. The house in Shreveport's Allendale neighborhood had no smoke detectors, he said.

The Moores' neighbors, alerted by several small explosions, reported the Baton Rouge fire at 12:50 a.m. Firefighters arrived in five minutes, but flames were shooting through the roof of the two-story house, valued at $300,000.

Investigators said they believe the fire started downstairs, near the front of the house.

The cause is under investigation, spokesman Robert Combs said.

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