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Fire in Shreveport claims woman's life

Published: May. 25, 2016 at 6:13 AM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2016 at 10:35 PM CDT
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Mariah Pennington (Source: Yolanda Pennington Perkins)
Mariah Pennington (Source: Yolanda Pennington Perkins)
Inside Pennington's home
Inside Pennington's home

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A fire in Shreveport's Queensboroughugh community claimed the life of an elderly woman Wednesday morning. Fire officials say she is the first fire victim of 2016.

The Shreveport Fire Department arrived just before 1:30 a.m. to a home in the 2100 block of Darien Street.

Yolanda Pennington Perkins gave KSLA News 12 a tour of her cousin's home, showing what's left after a fire claimed their aunt's life, and destroyed everything in sight.

Four people were asleep in the home when the blaze broke out.

The fire started in one of the bedrooms and 80-year-old Mariah Pennington's family said they did everything they could to try and rescue her. They even broke through one of the windows in the bedroom to try and get her to safety.

The three others in the home tried desperately to save Pennington, but were unsuccessful.

"We're coping, and we're trying to be by my second cousin's side because she's trying to fault herself, but we're telling her don't fault herself. She tried all she can," said Perkins.

Upon arrival, firefighters were told a woman was still inside the home. The woman was found a short time later, and taken to University Health where she later died.

It took crews more than 20 minutes to get the fire under control. No one else was believed to have been inside the house.

Fire investigators ruled the fire as accidental and said the home did not have a working smoke alarm.

Yolanda says it's a miracle her cousin even woke up when the fire started, because there were no smoke detectors in the house.

She wants others to hear this message: "home, mobile home, no matter what, smoke detectors are very important to alert people for any kind of fire," said Perkins.

The Shreveport Fire Department offers free smoke detectors for those who do not have one. Fire officials say they have been to the Queensborough neighborhood before to hand out the life-saving devices for free, but some still turn them away. However, they continue to knock on doors.

The number to call if  you need a smoke detector is (318) 673-6740.

The department also offers to flag homes of elderly and disabled citizens so the department will know if a fire is in that home that someone may need help getting out to safety. You can get on that list by calling (318) 675-2200.

The family lost everything in the fire, those wishing to help can click here.

The Caddo Parish Coroner's Office is investigating the exact cause of death.

Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.