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Vigil held for victim of post-Delta fire

Posted at 4:11 PM, Oct 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-18 00:26:36-04

A candlelight vigil will be held Saturday evening to celebrate the life of a New Iberia resident who died in a fire after Hurricane Delta.

Judy Neal, 70, died in the fire Sunday. A second person, Mark Cunningham, died on Wednesday of injuries sustained in the fire. A vigil is planned for Saturday at 6 p.m. in Iberia City Park.

Neal and Cunningham were recognized as hard-working members of the animal rescue community who helped many animals over the years. Those who knew them say they want to continue their legacy of taking care of animals.

Deputies responded to reports of an explosion and fire Sunday at a home on Lost Lake Lane in New Iberia. It was determined that the fire occurred in conjunction with the lighting of a cigarette. Damage observed around the home, including broken pipes and the smell of natural gas, led investigators to believe a natural gas leak was active at the time the cigarette was lit, leading to the explosion and fire. Further evaluation by utility professionals in the days since has further confirmed that determination.

The Louisiana Department of Health officially verified the deaths as storm-related.

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