Fire claims the life of Caldwell Parish woman

Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 1:15pm

 State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning released information in reference to the tragic death of a woman in her home that caught fire Tuesday, Aug. 21 in the evening in the Caldwell Parish community of Kelly.

Caldwell Parish firefighters were dispatched to 132 Washer Loop Road for a structure fire at approximately 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. After extinguishing the fire, the remains of the lone occupant were discovered in the home. State Fire Marshal Investigators were notified and along with the Caldwell Parish Sheriff’s Office, began an investigation into the origin and cause of the fire.

Investigators determined the fire originated in the kitchen area of the home and unsafe cooking practices could not be ruled out as a possible cause. Investigators determined the cooking equipment had been in use prior to the fire. Neighbors told investigators they had seen and spoken with the victim just before the fire and that victim had been cooking most of the afternoon. The deceased has been identified as 79 year old Hattie Dunaway. Two other residents who lived with Dunaway were not at home at the time of the fire. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is actively investigating why this fire occurred and also the cause of this death. An autopsy is planned for later today as part of a routine procedure when investigating a fire death.

The home did have smoke detectors installed, but family members reported to investigators that they were not operable at the time of the fire. Fire Marshal Browning stated, “We have no conclusion at this time but will be working diligently in hopes of finding more answers. We are once again investigating a fire death in a home without working smoke alarms. Let this very tragic incident be a wakeup call as to the importance of these lifesaving devices”.

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