St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana – An elderly woman from Folsom, Louisiana has passed away following her rescue from a brush fire which was located by a Louisiana State Fire Marshal (LASFM) deputy while conducting preventative patrols during a burn ban.
At approximately 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 27, a deputy heading south on LA 25 in Folsom sighted a brush fire that had extended to a shed located in the 78000 block of the highway. Coincidentally, as the deputy stopped to inspect the situation, a volunteer firefighter also stopped to assess the scene and reported the fire to St. Tammany Fire District #5.
As the firefighters started to put out the fire, they found an unconscious woman inside the burnt section of the property. She was transferred to a hospital in New Orleans in a critical state but unfortunately passed away later. To ascertain the official cause of her death, an autopsy will be performed. Although the fire extended to a nearby property, the firefighting team managed to control the blaze speedily and eventually extinguish it completely.
Upon conducting the investigation, LASFM deputies discovered that the woman involved was an 84-year-old inhabitant of the house. According to reports from LASFM, it is believed that she was in the process of burning a pile of debris when unforeseen events caused her to fall into the fire.
“Our hearts are broken for this family tonight, “ said State Fire Marshal Dan Wallis, “This is a horrific situation that should stun every single person in this state. These conditions are not exaggerated and they affect every one of us, even if you can’t see the flames and your community isn’t under threat of wildfire today. Doing any activity involving fire right now can lead to tragedy for you, your loved ones, your neighbors and your community.”
“I am so thankful that our deputy was in the right place at the right time to help give this woman a chance, but this terrible situation renews our plea to every single person in Louisiana– Do not burn anything!”
Since August 7, 2023, a burn ban has been in place across the state of Louisiana. However, on August 25, it was revised to eliminate all earlier exemptions. Moreover, on the same day, additional prohibitions were announced, specifically targeting exceptions for agricultural and planned burning. These restrictions were issued by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and Governor John Bel Edwards.
Failing to comply with these directives may lead to criminal and/or civil penalties.