PORT BARRE, La. – Investigators believe “unsafe smoking practices” caused a residential fire that killed a 64-year-old woman Tuesday morning, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Firefighters from St. Landry Parish Fire District #2 responded to the call around 7:30 a.m in 100 block of Bellanise Road. Deputy Chief Brant Thompson said neighbors reported, “smoke emanating from a bedroom window.”
Crews discovered the body of homeowner Diane Winchester on a bed, in a bedroom on the northeast end of the manufactured home.
Investigators determined Winchester’s bed to be the origin of the fire. The flames caused “significant damage” to the home.
Chief Thompson further explained in a release that, “Winchester suffered from a medical condition which greatly hindered her mobility and those close to her informed investigators that she was a heavy smoker who routinely smoked while in bed.”
Investigators found what Thompson describes as “smoking materials” in the bedroom, which he said confirms statements about Winchester smoking in bed.