Published 1:39 pm Saturday, September 24, 2022

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AVOYELLES PARISH – The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) has determined a midday fire in Marksville, that claimed the life of a female occupant, was caused by an unattended barbecue pit that got out of control.
Around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, the Marksville Fire Department responded to a report of a house fire located in the 400 block of Overton Street. Upon arrival, firefighters learned a disabled female occupant was still inside despite relatives’ efforts to save her. Unfortunately, the woman died on the scene.
Official identification and cause of death are pending with the Avoyelles Parish Coroner’s Office, however, the victim is believed to be the 70-year-old homeowner.
After an assessment of the scene and collecting witness statements, SFM deputies determined the fire began under the carport where a barbecue grill was being used to cook lunch. Deputies learned the grill was located in the bed of a pickup truck and the fire from the grill caught combustible items in the bed of the truck on fire. That fire then grew out of control spreading into the home.
Reports indicate though attempts were made to control the fire, those attempts were unsuccessful. Attempts were then made to rescue the disabled woman as the fire spread into the home. Relatives reported having to jump out of a window because of the smoke but continuing to try to pull the woman out through that same window until firefighters arrived.
When it comes to outdoor cooking and grill safety, the SFM recommends using grills in open areas that are three feet away from structures and combustible objects. In addition, grills should be cleaned after every use. If using charcoal, make sure the coals are completely cooled before discarding. If using gas, check all hoses for leaks before lighting and make sure the grill cover is open before lighting. Finally, you should never leave active cooking equipment or an open flame unattended, even if it’s outdoors.