State Fire Marshal deputies are investigating the circumstances surrounding a house fire in Lacombe that claimed the life of a male resident.
Around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday, St. Tammany Fire District #3 responded to a report of a residential fire located in the 27000 block of Washington Street in Lacombe.
Firefighters arrived on scene to locate one occupant safely evacuated outside of the home and learned there was a second occupant who had originally escaped but re-entered the home in an attempt to save pet dogs and never came back out.
That victim was located and transported to a local hospital for treatment but unfortunately died the following day, according to a spokesperson from the fire marshal’s office. The status of the dogs is unknown at this time.
While official identification and cause of death are pending with the coroner’s office, the victim is believed to be a 60-year-old resident of the home.
Following an assessment of the scene, deputies determined the fire began in the home’s living room. While the official cause of this fire remains undetermined at this time, fire marshal’s office investigators are unable to rule out the possibility that it is home heating-related.
Due to the extent of the damage, deputies were unable to determine whether the home had working smoke alarms. However, even with the presence of working smoke alarms to alert occupants to a fire danger, the fire marshal’s office wants to stress the importance of getting out of a burning structure as fast as possible then staying out, the spokesperson said.
The office is also asking Louisianans to prioritize safe home heating practices during cold temperatures across the state. Space heaters should plug directly into wall outlets as opposed to extension cords or power strips, and devices should be 3-5 feet away from combustible objects like blankets, bedding and curtains. Space heaters, fireplaces and open flames like candles should never be left unattended. In addition, stoves and ovens should not be used as sources of heat. Oil-burning or wood-burning ovens should not be left unattended or overloaded with too much wood.
Smoke alarms are a proven tool to alert residents to a fire danger in order to escape safely. Operations Save-A-Life can help residents obtain home smoke alarms. The program partners with local fire departments to install smoke alarms for free. To learn more about Operation Save-A-Life, see lasfm.org.