11 Telugu students lose shelter, belongings in US apartment fire

Four students were able to save their passports from damage, the other seven students lost them in the fire.

By   |  Published: 9th May 2017  12:59 pmUpdated: 9th May 2017  1:44 pm
Apartments caught in fire at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Source: Screen Grab

Hyderabad: A devastating fire that raised through the Highland Plantation apartment complex in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday left 11 Telugu students homeless and without their belongings including their passports and original certificates, according to reports reaching here.

The displaced students, pursuing their Masters ​in​ Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, are surviving on contributions made by Telugu organizations including Telangana Development Forum, American Telugu Association, Datta Temple committee and local community, Vijay Thupally, a Non-Resident Telanganite told Telangana Today over phone from Los Angeles. Thankfully​, there were no injuries to anyone.

According to local media reports, t​he blaze started on Saturday afternoon. ​While some students were outside, a few of them ​were inside the apartment complex. Most of them are two bedroom apartments and had alerted each other just in time to rush out of the building on fire. While four of them managed to grab their passports, others had to rush out of the building just in time.

Vijay Thupally ​said several organizations began extending financial help to the affected students. Efforts were also being made to contact the Indian embassy officials in Houston, Texas to get passports for the students who lost them. 

The students affected in this incident are: Mahipal Reddy Nerallapally, Rakesh Reddy Gallanagari, Divya Gangavaram, Samhitha Devarapally, Venkat Meruva, Nikhitha Reddy Puntikura, Sharath Teja Aila, Prathyusha Basani, Abhiram Reddy Sangireddy, Purna Gurram and ​Niharika Rama Veeresh​ according to a WhatsApp message sent by a Telangana Association seeking help for the students.

Media reports indicate that t​he fire, which extended to eight apartment flats, caused a loss of shelter to a total of 34 people.

The two apartment flats shared by the 11 Telugu students have been burnt completely, causing absolute damage of belongings to the students. All their clothes, books and electronics have perished in the fire. The Baton Rogue community is helping them with immediate needs, and a social campaign was started to solicit donations, which can be reached here.