Milton resident Mike Leger has been gardening as a hobby for years and says it’s therapy for him.
On Wednesday evening, Leger set up a lamp on the back porch of his home to preserve his plants like he does every winter. Later that night Leger awoke to the sound of his smoke detector and his back porch engulfed in flames.
“When I went to open the back door it singed my eyebrow,” he says.
Investigators say the lamp on the back porch likely shorted out and caused the fire.
Leger says, “the curtains caught fire then went back to get my dog and ran out. Went to my mom’s house and called 911.”
The plants Leger was trying to protect were all burned, including a Schefflera plant he kept from his father’s funeral.
Leger says, “I guess it’s just sentimental value, you know. It was the only thing I had left of my dad. Now it’s gone. That was mostly why I put that light up there, to keep it from dying. It was too big to bring in the house.”
Leger mentioned he has had a stroke of misfortune lately. He’s without a home or vehicle. Despite the misfortune, Leger says he’s thankful he still has Oliver, his dog of seven years who understands English and French. Leger says he can’t imagine losing him saying losing him would’ve killed him because his dog is his best friend and also similar to a son.
Alton Trahan with the Lafayette fire department says accidental heat related fires are common during the winter and often end in fatalities. He says leger is very fortunate.
Leger did not have insurance on his home and is staying with his mother for now.