BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
Fire investigators have ruled arson as the cause of a fire that claimed the life of a Baton Rouge woman.
Amanda Korkosz, 32, was found inside her home on Henagen Avenue, which is off Plank Road, around 4:30 a.m.. An autopsy showed that she died of smoke inhalation.
Authorities have in custody a man they say believe to be connected to the fire.
Edward Allen, 35, of Baton Rouge, was arrested on charges of false communication of a planned arson after a witness identified him as Korkosz's boyfriend.
According to the witness' statement to police, on the morning of May 25, she saw and heard Allen say he was going to set his girlfriend's house on fire if she put him out again.
The witness told police on the next morning, May 26, she saw Allen walking in a fast pace and saying Korkosz "snuck" [punch] him and put him out.
The fire happened later that same night.
According to the probable cause report, the witness gave a detailed description of Allen.
Officials have not said whether the charges against Allen will be upgraded.
A 32-year-old woman's body was found inside a north Baton Rouge house early Friday shortly after firefighters put out a blaze at the home, police said.
Sgt. L'Jean McKneely, a Baton Rouge police spokesman, identified the victim as Amanda Korkosz. She died of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, said East Baton Rouge coroner Beau Clark, clarifying that her cause of death is pending toxicology reports and further investigations.
Both Clark and McKneely said authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire and the woman's death, including arson investigators and public safety officials.
The fire broke out between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. in the 5700 block of Henagen Avenue, just off Plank Road, said Curt Monte, a spokesman for the Baton Rouge Fire Department.
McKneely said police had responded to a domestic dispute at the home hours before the fire, but that it was too early to tell if the domestic dispute and the fire were related.
There were three other people inside the home who escaped without injuries, he said.
The owner of the home, Randall Johnson, said he called police around 2 a.m. Friday to report a domestic dispute between his niece, Korkosz, who also lived in the Henagen Avenue house, and her boyfriend.
"They were having a dispute and I called the police and told her boyfriend to leave," Johnson said Friday as he waited for police to finish their investigation inside his home.
By the time police arrived, the boyfriend had left the house, Johnson said.
"The police took down their report and left," he said.
About two hours later, Johnson said, he awoke to the smell of smoke.
"I started roaming around the bedroom to see if my girlfriend had left a cigarette burning," he said.
The bedroom was dark and he thought she might have dumped an ashtray in a trash can, so he turned on a light to look.
"All I could see was the bright red glow of the fire coming out of a living room window," Johnson said.
When he went to the living room, he saw flames "crawling up the walls to the ceiling and into the attic," he said. "It was burning fast."
He woke up his girlfriend and the two escaped through a back door. After he was outside, Johnson said, he tried to awaken the two other people who lived in the house, a man, related to him through marriage, and Korkosz.
"I was beating on the walls of the house, yelling at him, 'Get out, get out,'" Johnson said of trying to get his male relative out of the burning house. "He was yelling back, 'I can't see.'"
Johnson said he ran to the back of the house and yelled at the man to go to the window in his bedroom, which he did, and Johnson helped him escape.
Johnson said his niece had not responded.
"I was beating on her bedroom window, calling her name," Johnson said. "I pulled out the air conditioning unit in her window, but the smoke was so thick I couldn't even get my head in the window. It was awful."
Korkosz's body was recovered by firefighters after the flames were doused.
Johnson said she had been living with him for about a year.
"She was trying to get her life back together," he said. "She had past problems and wanted to get her GED."
"I'm still in shock and disbelief," Johnson said. "All I can say is God saved us."