The deaths of two Coushatta residents in a home fire on December 18thare among eleven people who have lost their lives in structure fires in the state since the first of December. The State Fire Marshall has issued a plea with all Louisiana residents to be especially cautious this winter.
Marie Lynn Thomas and her seven year old son, Billy Ray Thomas perished when the apartment building in which they were living caught fire. They occupied a downstairs apartment.
Over the weekend, State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning is reiterating his plea for all residents to take home fire safety seriously as the total number of fatalities this month alone is now up to 11. All but three of those victims were in their 60s or older.
“We have now surpassed last year’s fire fatality count of 70 deaths after staying below 2018’s comparable statistics throughout the rest of the year,” said Browning, “This is not only sad for me to report, but disappointing as these deaths continue to appear completely preventable. We are urging everyone to look around your homes, and the homes of your elderly relatives and neighbors, to identify potential fire hazards and do something about them. Please, don’t become a statistic.”
Those hazards include heating devices too close to combustibles and overloaded electrical power sources. Preventative actions include ensuring working smoke alarms are present and to “Get Out, Stay Out” when faced with a fire emergency.