Mar 20, 2013 2:45 PM by Tonya LaCoste
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning determined a deadly fire in Patterson, at 524 Martin Luther King Ave., started when one of the people who lived in the home fell asleep while cooking. The fire woke up Demetrius Owens, 20, who has special needs and fell asleep while cooking. "He awoke to a fire in the kitchen and immediately exited the home where he was able to flag down a passing patrol car," State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said. The Patterson Police officer tried to rescue Barbara Hall, 67, and Clarence Watson, 68, but heavy smoke prevented him from entering the home. Hall and Watson were found in a bedroom. Owens is the grandson of one of the deceased.
Patterson Volunteer Fire Chief Sherel Martin says the fire department received the call Wednesday morning at 1:26, and firefighters arrived at 1:34. When they arrived, "It was fully, fully engulfed," Martin said. In all, 15 firefighters put out the cypress house fire. The chief deemed it under control at 2:30, and the last unit left the burned down home at 6:30.
The state fire marshal says the home did not have smoke alarms, and he urges citizens to have at least one. People who need assistance buying or installing a smoke alarm can go to the State Fire Marshal's Office web site at lasfm.org and click on "Operation Save A Life." You'll find a "Smoke Detector Application and Installation" form to complete and submit on-line.