LaPlace man dies in trailer fire

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2011



LAPLACE – An early morning trailer home fire in LaPlace Wednesday claimed the life of a 67-year-old man, but the man’s wife and son were able to escape, according to a release from State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning.

Arthur Zeller died in the fire, which started some time before 3 a.m. near the back of his trailer home at 128 Augustin Lane. His wife, Phyllis Zeller, 69, escaped the blaze but suffered burns and smoke inhalation, Browning said. She was taken to Ochsner Hospital in Kenner. The couple’s son, Arthur Zeller III, was uninjured.

Browning said when the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department arrived at around 2:54 a.m. the home was completely engulfed in flames. Browning said the cause of the fire is still under investigation but added officials believe the fire started in the bathroom of the trailer. He said the fire was contained to the Zellers’ trailer. Arthur Zeller was found inside the home and pronounced dead on the scene, Browning said.

“This is again a sad day. A Louisiana citizen has lost his life in a fire,” Browning said. “There were no smoke alarms in this home, so all the occupants did not have time to escape safely. I ask that everyone, right now, ensure you have working smoke alarms in your home.”

Investigators believe the wife discovered the fire and alerted the family, but Browning said the flames became too intense for anyone to attempt to enter the home to rescue Arthur Zeller, who slept in the back of the trailer and was unable to escape without assistance because of a medical condition that required the use of oxygen tanks.

Browning said much more forensic work is needed to finalize the investigation, but foul play is not suspected.