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5 fatal home fires break out in 5 days across Louisiana

February 17, 2022 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana residents have suffered five fatal home fires in as many days, State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning said.

Victims range from 48 to 81 years old, Browning said in a news release Wednesday evening.

“Again, we’re seeing an uptick in tragedies associated with home fires when outside temperatures drop,” he said. “We need families to be aware of the fire hazards in their home and take steps now to mitigate or eliminate those hazards to avoid not only a fire in the home, but the severe injuries and deaths we see result from home fires.”

None of the homes had a working smoke alarm, he said. One had hard-wired smoke alarms, “but the breaker powering those alarms was shut off,” the news release said.

The first death was a 48-year-old Bossier City woman who got out with her 15-year-old grandson but then went back into her burning house to try to save pets Friday. The last was a 65-year-old man whose wife was injured trying to rescue him Tuesday from their mobile home in Leesville.

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Browning said the teen whose grandmother died was treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation suffered when he tried to rescue her. Investigators are working to learn what started the fire, which was reported about 1:40 a.m., the fire marshal said.

He said an untended space heater in a mobile home may have touched off a fire reported about 2 a.m. Saturday in Ferriday. Firefighters found the body of a 61-year-old man in a bedroom.

Browning’s deputies and the New Orleans Fire Department are investigating a fire that killed a 65-year-old woman Sunday morning.

An 81-year-old man died at a hospital after being rescued from a burning detached garage at a house in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner on Monday afternoon. Browning said unsafe smoking practices may have contributed to that fire.

The last fire occurred about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in Leesville. The woman who tried to rescue her husband was hospitalized. Deputies are investigating possible causes, Browning said.

“Our hearts absolutely break for the families suffering these losses of life because they are so preventable,” Browning said.