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Victim in fatal Opelousas house fire was former educator and coach in St. Landry Parish

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jan 30, 2020

An early morning house fire in Opelousas Wednesday has claimed the life of 67-year-old Hebert Lamb. Officials say the suspected cause of death is smoke inhalation.

Lamb's family says that he was a former educator in the St. Landry Parish School System for years and a basketball coach at Opelousas Catholic.

Lamb's wife was hospitalized following the fire. She has been released and is doing well.

Funeral arrangements for Lamb are pending.

The fire on Wednesday happened around 4:00 am in the 1700 block of Duson Avenue in Opelousas.

According to the State Fire Marshal's Office, one resident was located outside by firefighters. Hebert Lamb was still in the home at the time of the fire. He was able to be rescued by firefighters but passed away at a local hospital due to complications from smoke inhalation.

"The wife was outside of the building but she did have smoke inhalation. She told them that her husband was still inside. They were able to get to him and they were able to get him out of the window. They immediately started CPR until EMS was able to arrive and they continued assisting with that unfortunately he did succumb," said an official with the fire department.

The State Fire Marshal's Office on Friday released new information on the fire. Authorities say they learned the female occupant of the home woke up to the smell of smoke, fuond flames in the living room, and attempted to put the fire out with a water hose. When that wasn't successful, she attempted to help her disabled husband escape, but couldn't.

Opelousas firefighters say Wednesday morning's fire was difficult to fight because of how the home was built.

"Older houses the construction is usually heavier timber. Less Sheetrock and Sheetrock does help to contain fire. Because of the wood construction, it's very strong but also contributes to the fire load. And because of that it burns a lot hotter and it burns a lot faster. There was, as you can see, a lot of the roof structure did collapse, in which again made it a little more difficult to be able to fully extinguish the fire."

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. Deputies have determined that the fire began in the living room. The official cause remains undetermined, but investigators are looking into the possibility of electrical causes contributing to the fire.