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Jan 30, 2012 12:22 AM by Chris Welty

Space Heaters to Blame for Two Area Fires

This weekend, two Acadiana families lost everything in house fires.

While those fires were in two different cities, there was one common and preventable factor.

Just before noon Sunday morning smoke filled the air on Henkle Street in Jeanerette. For five years the Declouet family lived in this home, and all that's left now is charred rubble.

"It's just, I'm all caught up in loses right now. I just lost my mom, now the house has burned. It just seems like it's falling a part. It was very nippy this morning, our church service starts at 8 o'clock and it was very cold this morning," said Pamela Declouet.

With cooler temperatures in the morning, typically the family uses a space heater to heat their home, but before leaving for church, they didn't turn it off.

"The heater was on. I'm sure it was accidental. I don't know what happened. I just don't know what happened, I can't say. I hate that it did happen," said Declouet.

In Lafayette Saturday, a similar scene when a family of nine lost everything that they owned including their cars. Alton Trahan with the Lafayette Fire Department says using a space heater is definitely a hazard when used incorrectly.

"You want to make sure you give it space, at least three feet from anything that will ignite. The best thing is to use it while everybody is up. When every one falls asleep, unplug it, turn it off so that you won't have any type of situation like this one."

Easy advice that could have saved both families so much hardship.

Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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