Louisiana State Fire Marshal Urges Caution Following Deadly Heater Fire

By Calcasieu Staff
Published January 11, 2024

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Washington Parish, Louisiana – State Fire Marshal, Chief Bryan J Adams, is urging people to be extra careful with home heating following a tragic house fire in Mt. Hermon, Louisiana.

The fire, which occurred on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, is thought to have been started by a space heater. Emergency responders arrived at the scene to find an injured man outside the house who reported that another person was still inside. Unfortunately, a victim was found deceased in a bedroom and is believed to be the 82-year-old homeowner.

While the official cause of death is pending verification by the parish Coroner’s Office, initial investigations suggest that the fire likely started in the room where the victim was found and may have been caused by either the space heater itself or electrical items the space heater was plugged into.

The absence of functioning smoke alarms was noted in this residence. Chief Adams emphasizes the critical role of smoke alarms in saving lives during fire emergencies for all Louisiana residents.

If you require support in acquiring smoke alarms for your home, 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 lasfm.org or get in touch with your local fire department to arrange a free smoke alarm installation.

Adams emphasized that the months with the lowest temperatures are also the most dangerous for house fires. However, he stressed that many of these fires caused by heating-related issues can be prevented. It is important for every household to be aware of potential fire hazards and to address them proactively in order to protect lives.

Key safety measures for home heating include: keeping space heaters at least 3-5 feet away from flammable items such as blankets and curtains, plugging heating devices directly into wall outlets rather than using power strips or extension cords, especially if the wires are frayed or worn, refraining from using stoves, ovens, or grills as sources of heat within homes, avoiding overfilling fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, and never leaving candles or open flames unattended, including space heaters.