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New Iberia Fire Chief provides update on conditions of injured firefighters

SFM details investigation into fire and explosion
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Posted at 8:59 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 19:16:28-04

UPDATE: The New Iberia Fire Department said Friday that a total of five firefighters received medical care following the fire and explosion at a business in New Iberia.

Two were treated at Iberia Medical for heat exhaustion and two were being treated at Baton Rouge General burn unit for burns to their hands and arms.

A fifth individual is being treated at Our Lady of Lourdes in Lafayette.

As of this morning, Fire Chief Gordon Copell says that the two being treated at Iberia Medical were released. One firefighter was released from Baton Rouge General while the other had surgery Thursday and remains in their care.

The firefighter being treated at Our Lady of Lourdes has undergone surgery this morning and Chief Copell said the department is awaiting updates on his condition.

The State Fire Marshal's Office is continuing its investigation into the circumstances surrounding a fire and subsequent explosion at a business office in New Iberia on Thursday.

Deputies say that just before 10:00 a.m. on July 29, the New Iberia Fire Department responded to a report of a fire at a manufactured home in the 800 block of Hopkins Street.

The home was being used as a business office.

The explosion occurred while firefighters were attempting to suppress the fire.

Following an assessment of the scene, deputies have determined the fire originated on the back side of the manufactured home. The exact cause and source remain undetermined, but deputies confirmed that the presence of excess natural gas was a contributing factor.

An investigation is ongoing.

“We are keeping these firefighters, their families, and the New Iberia Fire Department in our prayers,” said State Fire Marshal Chief H. “Butch” Browning, “Our folks are working diligently with all involved agencies to determine as much information as possible about what happened so we can try to prevent a terrible situation like this from happening again.”

KATC spoke with family of two of the injured firefighters.

The family members of one man told KATC on Thursday that he is in a medically induced coma at Our Lady of Lourdes in Lafayette. According to officials, he is the only firefighter in critical condition.

Iberia Parish School Board member Raymond "Shoe-Do" Lewis confirmed to KATC that his son, a fire captain, was one of the injured and was transported to a hospital in Baton Rouge. He is being treated in the burn unit for second and third degree burns on his hands.

To read more from KATC on the fire and explosion:

Three firefighters injured in New Iberia fire, explosion

Three firefighters injured in fire, explosion in New Iberia 6 p.m.

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