BATON ROUGE - Dozens of people will be staying at a shelter Wednesday night and into Thursday after a massive fire ate most of their building.

It took firefighters hours to battle the blaze.

The fire broke out at about 1:30 p.m. at the Turner Plaza Apartments in the 4500 block of North Street. An entire building at the complex with 24 units was destroyed and is considered a total loss.

"The fire shot straight up to the roof," said one resident. "Once it hit the roof, it just spread. It took like 10-15 minutes, then the whole building was on fire."

Turner Plaza is a Council on Aging site, and a number of elderly and residents with disabilities live there.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at a nearby BREC gymnasium to provide overnight shelter and food for those unable to return home because of fire damage and power loss. The Housing Authority is working to restore power to the whole complex and are working to find the displaced residents a permanent home.

The cause of the fire is still under investigations, but officials say it started on the second floor and was sparked from a heater.

The complex caught on fire seven years ago, too.

Image: WBRZ