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Spike in fatal fires leads to call for action from State Fire Marshal

Latest case involves two deaths in Cotton Valley fire
State Fire Marshal
Posted at 4:59 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 17:59:40-05

SPIKE IN FATAL FIRES LEADS TO CALL FOR ACTION FROM STATE FIRE MARSHAL — BATON ROUGE- The State Fire Marshal's Office (SFM) is calling on all Louisiana citizens to increase fire safety awareness and precautions around their homes while deputies actively investigate the state's ninth and tenth fire fatality cases of the year.

"This is an alarming number of deaths due to fire already in 2021," said State Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning, "Six of these deaths have happened in February alone and we're not even to the middle of the month yet."

This morning, the Cotton Valley Fire Department responded to the 600 block of Cvoc Road just after 1 a.m. for a report of a trailer fire with three occupants inside. When firefighters arrived, a female occupant had escaped, but two males were still unaccounted for. The bodies of both men were later found in separate bedrooms.

While official identifications and causes of death are pending autopsies, one man is believed to be 50-years old while the other was in his early 60s. Both were residents of the home and relatives.

After an assessment of the scene, including a statement from the survivor, deputies determined the fire began in the front area of the structure where the older male slept.

While the exact cause remains undetermined, investigators are unable to rule out the use of a wood burning stove for heating the home as a contributing factor.

As our presence on that scene was winding down this afternoon, deputies in the Hammond area were being called to assist with an investigation into a fire that claimed one life in the 900 block of Martin Luther King Drive.

At this time, the causes of this year's fatal fires have been across the board from unsafe smoking practices to various electrical issues stemming from improper electrical wiring as well as dangerous home heating practices.

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