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Natchitoches Man Dies in Apartment Fire

by Minden Press-Herald

NATCHITOCHES PARISH- State Fire Marshal (SFM) deputies continue investigating an apartment fire in Natchitoches that claimed the life of a male resident. 

Around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, the Natchitoches Fire Department responded to a report of an apartment fire located in the 1300 block of Washington Street. Firefighters found one unit affected where, unfortunately, the body of the sole occupant was discovered in a bed. 

While official identification and cause of death are pending an autopsy with the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office, the victim is believed to be the 71-year-old tenant of the apartment. 

SFM deputies learned other tenants of the apartment complex started smelling smoke and heard the sound of a smoke alarm, but when the smoke continued, they called 911. Inside of the affected unit, deputies located a space heater near the bed that was being powered through an extension cord as well as multiple hot plates used for cooking that appeared to be in use at the time of the fire. 

At this time, the cause of the fire remains undetermined with the inability to rule out several potential factors including unsafe cooking practices, unsafe heating practices, unsafe smoking practices and improper electrical use. 

Deputies did confirm the presence of a smoke alarm in the affected unit, however, they have been unable to confirm whether that alarm was the one other occupants reported hearing at the time of the fire. 

While the cause of this fire is still being investigated, the SFM would like to, once again, emphasize the importance of fire safety awareness and prevention. Make sure to place space heaters 3-5 feet from combustible objects like bedding and plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets as opposed to power strips or extension cords. In addition, never cook while tired, distracted or impaired and always smoke outdoors where smoking materials should be fully and appropriately discarded.

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