Four Died in Fire in Arklatex
Four people have died in a mobile home fire in the town of Hornbeck. The State Fire Marshal says two pet dogs also died in the blaze.
Just before midnight on Friday night, the Hornbeck Fire Department responded to the 100 block of J Hext Road for a report of a trailer on fire with people trapped inside. Firefighters later found the body of a husband and wife, ages 57 and 54, respectively, as well as a 31-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man. Two other adults were able to escape the fire unharmed.
Investigators believe the fire began in the kitchen/living room area of the home and is likely electrical in nature. However, the official cause remains undetermined at this time.
Investigators are looking into several recent issues with the electrical system in the trailer, including a concerning reaction that followed the family connecting a generator directly into their electrical outlets when Hurricane Laura knocked power out to the area. It was also reported that the family had turned their heater on last night for the first time this fall season.
Deputies learned that the two people who were able to escape heard a popping sound seconds after the power suddenly went out. When they opened the door to their bedroom to investigate, they found the trailer filled with smoke and immediately got out. The survivors reported that the 57-year-old homeowner did escape with them, but went back inside to try to help get the remaining family members out.
There were no working smoke alarms in the trailer at the time of the fire, unfortunately, due to the devices being removed when battery replacement was needed, as opposed to changing the batteries.
“The loss of these four family members is tragic in so many ways,” said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, “We want Louisiana residents to realize the significance of having smoke alarms when a fire emergency occurs, no matter the cause.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office offers a program called Operation Save-A-Life that partners with local fire departments to provide families in need with free smoke alarm installations. You can learn more about the program on lasfm.org.