UPDATE: The Iberia Parish Coroner's Office has identified the man who died in last week's camper fire.
Leonce Romero Jr., 81, died in the fire that happened Saturday in Iberia Parish.
Shortly after 8 a.m. on February 20, the New Iberia Fire Department responded to a call for a camper trailer fire located in the 1700 block of Juanita Street.
A relative discovered the victim and remnants of a fire when bringing the occupant breakfast. The victim owned the camper, and had traveled from his property in Sunset to the relative’s property in New Iberia due to the winter weather threat across the state.
After an assessment of the scene, deputies determined the fire originated in the camper’s water pump compartment. The cause of the fire has been determined as an electrical malfunction of the camper’s water pump that led to the pump overheating and catching fire, which resulted in smoke spreading throughout the camper.
It is believed that despite the fire self-extinguishing, the man was overcome by the smoke while he was sleeping, resulting in his death. Deputies were able to locate a smoke alarm in the camper, but it did not activate.
The SFM would like to stress that it is just as important to conduct monthly tests on your smoke alarms, to ensure they are working appropriately, as it is to have at least one smoke alarm present in your home. The SFM’s Operation Save-A-Life program partners with local fire departments and districts to provide FREE smoke alarm installations, at any time of the year, for families in need of assistance accessing the critical emergency-alert equipment. To register for a free smoke alarm, or learn more about Operation Save-A-Life, visit lasfm.org.
Deputies told us Saturday that they had responded to three fatal fire investigations with four victims within a 15-hour timeframe, despite a week without a single fire-related death.
A fatality in Shreveport was determined as cooking-related, while a double fatality in Marksville is being attributed to use of a generator indoors.
Officials are reminding residents to stay vigilant, even as temperatures continue to warm up.
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