Space heater sparks house fire, kills Ponchatoula man

PONCHATOULA, La. — A man was killed and his wife injured in a house fire that the state fire marshal says was caused by a space heater.

The fire broke out Friday evening in the 18000 block of Esterbrook. Investigators say firefighters were able to rescue the bedridden 77-year-old man. But he died at an area hospital.

Investigators say that the husband and wife were “in a front room watching television when they heard a loud noise from the back of the house,” state fire marshal deputies said.

Source: Louisiana State Fire Marshal

They say the woman went to see what the sound was, when she found smoke and flames. Investigators say she tried to get her husband into his wheelchair so they could escape the fire, but she was injured and unsuccessful in getting her husband out of the house.

State fire marshal deputies say the space heater was in a bedroom and was left running too close to bedding and clothing. Deputies say the home did not have working smoke alarms.

The SFM urges Louisianans to practice safe home heating practices in the following ways:

•             Place space heaters 3-5 feet from combustible objects like blankets and curtains

•             Plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords

•             Do not use stoves, ovens, or grills to heat homes

•             Don’t overfill fireplaces/wood-burning stoves

•             Do not leave candles/open flames (or space heaters) left unattended

Smoke alarms are proven to be the difference between life and death in a fire emergency. The SFM’s Operation Save-A-Life partners with local fire departments to install smoke alarms for free for families that need them most. To learn more about the program and register for a smoke alarm, visit lasfm.org.

You can also contact your local fire department to request a smoke alarm installation.

READ MORE: Five die in house fires across Louisiana in five days

READ MORE: Firefighter loses everything after Christmas day fire

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