HODGE, La. (KSLA) — Fire claimed the lives of an infant girl and a boy who just celebrated his third birthday, authorities report.
It happened just after 10 p.m. Saturday at a house in the 1000 block of South Elm Street in the Jackson Parish village of Hodge, according to the Louisiana fire marshal’s office.
“While official identification and causes of death are still pending with the Jackson Parish coroner’s office, the victims are believed to be an almost 2-month-old girl and a 3-year-old boy ...,” says a statement from the fire marshal’s office.
Their bodies were found in the master bedroom.
Two boys ages 8 and 4, a 7-year-old girl and a man also were in the house at the time of the fire.
The surviving children were examined at a local hospital and released.
Fire marshal’s office investigators learned from witnesses "... that one of the children accidentally caught a couch on fire while playing with a lighter.
“Upon discovery of the fire, the adult male home with the children evacuated the older children and attempted to extinguish the fire,” the fire marshal’s office reports.
“Witness statements indicated when that effort became unsuccessful, the adult male made attempts to reach the two remaining children from both inside and outside of the structure, but was unable to.”
Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning said this is the second fire in as many weeks involving children having access to fire-producing objects and that access resulting in devastating consequences.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of, first and foremost, keeping lighters and matches away from the reach of children, but secondly, teaching children about the dangers of playing with fire.
"This is a heartbreaking case that I hope motivates other families to take these two simple steps to prevent something similar from affecting their loved ones and properties.”