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State Fire Marshal recommends smoking outside

TERREBONNE PARISH- State Fire Marshal (SFM) deputies are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding a house fire that claimed the life of a Houma man.

Around 5 p.m. on February 22, the Bayou Black Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call for a house fire located in the 200 block of Union Street in Houma. Firefighters arrived to find a female occupant safely outside of the home reporting that her disabled husband was still inside. The body of a male occupant was later discovered in the home’s dining room.

While official identification and cause of death are pending an autopsy, the victim is believed to be the 73-year-old homeowner.

After an assessment of the scene, deputies determined the fire originated in the home’s kitchen/dining room area. While the exact cause of the fire remains undetermined at this time, deputies are not ruling out the potential that unsafe smoking practices are a contributing factor.

Deputies learned the victim was a smoker and had limited mobility. His wife reported waking up to the smell of smoke and attempting to locate her husband before having to flee the home.

The SFM wants to remind Louisiana residents that it is always best to smoke outdoors. Ensure all smoking materials are properly extinguished in the appropriate manner and keep all spark-producing objects, like lighters, out of the reach of children. Also, refrain from smoking when tired or under the influence of alcohol or medications that make you drowsy.

In addition, there were no working smoke alarms located in the home. The SFM’s Operation Save-A-Life program partners with local fire departments and districts to provide FREE smoke alarm installations, at any time of the year, for families in need of assistance accessing the critical emergency-alert equipment. To register for a free smoke alarm, or learn more about Operation Save-A-Life, visit lasfm.org.