Garyville home destroyed by fire

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 2, 2004

By LEONARD GRAY Staff Reporter

GARYVILLE – The home of Ophelia Baloney, the owner of Baloney Funeral Home, in Garyville was destroyed Thursday during an early-morning fire.

Six people were in the home, located on South Emile Street, at the time of the incident. The home adjoins the funeral home. No was was injured and firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to the business.

Garyville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Faron “Slim” Duhe said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but the cause will be hard to pin down, since the house was totally destroyed.

Due to the New Year’s Day holiday, volunteer firefighters were in short supply, and help came from the fire departments in LaPlace, Reserve and Gramercy.

Nevertheless, it took four hours to extinguish the fire, which started at 1:45 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Her son, Carl Baloney, said he thinks the fire began in the garage area and was likely electrical in origin. The family had welcomed the new year and had just gone to bed when the fire broke out.

Chester McDowell, Carl’s brother-in-law, lived in an apartment above the garage and first spotted the smoke and fire.He first grabbed a hose and tried to

battle it, but when he realized it was beyond him, McDowell dashed through the house, banging on doors and awakened everyone to get them out alive and unhurt.

Living in the house at the time were Mrs. Baloney, two daughters, a son-in-law and a grandson.

Since the fire, Red Cross has come out to render assistance, and the family’s friends and neighbors have responded with food and clothing. “We’re pretty thankful,” Carl Baloney said. “They got out with just the clothes on their backs.”

He added his mother has taken the loss of her home well and plans to rebuild.