St. Mary

Mar 20, 2013 7:55 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Fatal Fire in St. Mary Parish


A community is in mourning after a deadly fire claimed the lives of two people in St. Mary Parish. The fire happened in the middle of the night, one person escaped, and two others, one of them a longtime teacher, did not get out. The victims are 67-year-old Barbara Hall and 68-year-old Clarence Watson.

Only ashes remain of the home at 524 Martin Luther King avenue in Patterson.

"Well it's a devastating situation here. I was home this morning, when they called me and I got here and I just couldn't believe what I was seeing," Maurice Ruffin said.

Maurice ruffin is Barbara Hall's uncle. She and Watson were found in a bedroom. Fire Marshal Investigators said the fire spread quickly through the cypress home. Investigators said Demetrious Owens, their grandson, has special needs and he was cooking and fell asleep when the fire started.


Investigators said Owens awoke to flames inside the kitchen area. He ran outside and flagged down a police officer, who was patrolling the area. The officer tried to get inside the home to rescue the two remaining people inside, but he was unable to enter due to the heavy smoke.

"It's been very difficult, I'm sure for the immediate family. It's also been very difficult at the high school," Nelson Cortez said, who worked with Hall for almost 25 years at Morgan City High School. Hall taught there for 32 years.

"Patterson has lost a wonderful lady, Morgan City has lost a very wonderful former colleague and her family has lost a very strong brick in the wall of that family," Cortez said.

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