Candles and Oil Lamps Possible Cause of Deadly Louisiana Fire, State Officials Investigating

By Calcasieu Staff
Published December 28, 2023

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Opelousas, Louisiana – The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office reported on December 27 that they are still investigating a fatal house fire in Opelousas. The fire occurred on Tuesday, December 26, at a residence on Highway 190 W near Lawtell.

One person died in the fire, and the official identification and cause of death are pending with the parish Coroner’s Office.

After examining the scene and taking witness statements, deputies concluded that the fire started in the room where the victim was found. While they are still investigating the exact cause of the fire, deputies have not ruled out the possibility that candles or oil lamps, which were used for light and warmth due to a lack of electrical service to the home, may have contributed to the fire.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office reported that the home did not have any functioning smoke alarms. They emphasized the critical importance of smoke alarms in saving lives during a fire, even in homes without electricity. If you require help getting smoke alarms for your residence, Operation Save-A-Life is available to assist. For additional information about Operation Save-A-Life or to sign up for a free smoke alarm visit the LASFM website at or reach out to your local fire department for a free smoke alarm installation.

With the onset of chilly weather in Louisiana, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office emphasizes the importance of practicing home heating safety. It’s crucial to keep space heaters at a safe distance of 3-5 feet from flammable items such as blankets and curtains, and to plug heating appliances directly into wall outlets rather than using power strips or extension cords. Avoid using stoves, ovens, or grills for heating purposes, and be mindful not to overfill fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. Additionally, never leave candles, open flames, or space heaters unattended.