OAKDALE – Investigators believe an unattended space heater is the possible cause of a fire that claimed the life of an Oakdale man.
The Oakdale Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 600 block of North 17th Street around 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The fire was reported by a neighbor, according to Ashely Rodrigue, public affairs director for the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Firefighters later discovered the body of a 56-year-old male in a bedroom. The victim was the sole occupant of the home, according to Rodrigue.
Preliminary findings show the fire started in the living room. While the exact cause remains undetermined, deputies cannot rule out the possibility of an unattended space heater placed too closely to combustible objects as a contributing factor.
Officials said there were no smoke alarms in the home.
“This is now the 12th life loss to fire in Louisiana in 2021, and this time, as frigid temperatures make their way across the state, it seems this fire, sadly, may be related to an attempt to stay warm,” State Fire Marshal “Butch” Browning said. “We have got to do better for ourselves and our families and be careful when engaging in behaviors that can be fire hazards disguised as everyday household activities.”
As the state prepares for some of the coldest temperatures of the winter, Browning reminds residents when heating homes, to plug space heaters directly into wall outlets as opposed to extension cords or power strips. Space heaters should also be 3-5 feet away from combustible items including blankets.
Space heaters, candles and other open flames should never be left unattended.
Stoves and ovens should also not be used as a heat source and fireplaces and wood burning ovens should not be left unattended or overloaded with too much wood.