SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)- The Caddo Parish Coroner has identified the victim in Monday's fatal fire as 88 year old Unis V. Coleman. Dr. Todd Thoma says preliminary autopsy results show Coleman died of severe burns.
Coleman is also known as "Mr. C." KSLA News 12 spent part of Tuesday afternoon with some of the people who knew Coleman best.
"...my friend, my companion," says Barbara Russ.
"He was a father, mentor to me as well as my kids. He loved my kids," says Orlando Chapman.
Mr. C was also a Mason, and we're told he was a veteran. Chapman says he and Coleman clicked when he moved his family to the house next door 15 years ago.
"He'd always go to my restaurant. I'd tell my employees "if my father comes up here, no matter what he wants, let him have what he wants," Chapman says.
Chapman tells us he last saw Mr. C Wednesday: "He was telling me that he was having denture problems, and I said "dad I'll take you to get some teeth."
Barbara Russ tells KSLA News 12 she and Mr. C talked Monday morning.
"He called me and said 'I wanna hear from you. I wanna hear your voice today,' and I said 'I was just fittin to call you.'"
Caddo Parish Fire District Two is behind Coleman's house. Chief Harry Lowery says he recently gave him smoke detectors, but none were up. We asked if it's possible that they could have saved him: "It would've given him an 80-percent chance. Definitely an 80-percent chance," Lowery says.
Today, his loved ones cling to his memory.
"The Lord knows best, but I still will always love Mr. Coleman for who he was," Russ says.
"I'm gonna miss Christmas because he really inspired Christmas by lighting up this whole street with his Christmas lights," says Chapman.
Orlando Chapman says he'll honor his mentor by keeping that tradition alive this Christmas. He plans to run the lights at Mr. C's house from his family's home next door.
Chief Lowery says this tragedy is a reminder of just how important it is to have a working smoke detector. Anyone in Caddo Parish Fire District Two who does not have one can get one from the station, or call to have one brought to you.