Baton Rouge Fires Won’t Stop Until We Address Poverty Issues

Several families have lost loved ones since New Year’s Day in house fires in Baton Rouge. Most of these have been accidental. Families dying, literally, attempting to stay warm. Baton Rouge is usually not this cold in the winter, so families that don’t have central heat and air are usually able to manage, but when temperatures drop like they have in recent days into the low 30’s and 20’s, families resort to unsafe ways to warm their homes. This is a window into how deep our economic issues run. People like myself advocating for equity in business in Baton Rouge discuss the income gap and how blacks in Baton Rouge earn fifty cents for every dollar earned by whites. This gap is literally impacting people’s lives. 

There is a fog of false realities in Baton Rouge. Not much has changed in the areas that our community has it’s greatest needs. The people of north Baton Rouge and old south are seeing no major new developments start or the talk of it. As a matter of fact in some ways things have declined in the last year even more. People are dying in house fires in Baton Rouge because they can’t afford safer ways to heat their homes. And as usual, our leaders show up presenting band aides not surgery. Yes, we need to provide smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, but now is the time to talk about the root cause of it and how we help decrease poverty. 

A grandmother and her two great grandchildren died in Baton Rouge last night on Iroquois St. The victims are Gloria Anderson, 77, Maylia Jackson, 7, and Michele Williams, 6, family and authorities said. The fire department is called when it’s already too late. It’s not the fire fighters fault. Is the family wrong for attempting to keep warm, or are we failing residents by not working day in and day out to improve the quality of life for our citizens. 

Until we are serious about closing the income gap in this city. We will continue to see senseless deaths happen from a multitude of reasons. Families shouldn’t die in their homes trying to stay warm, because they can’t afford safer ways to heat their homes.