Pineville, LA – State Fire Marshal investigators are continuing to piece together the circumstances surrounding a residential structure fire that claimed the life of a 6-year-old girl and injured two of her family members in the community of Deville late Wednesday.
Firefighters from four area departments, including Deville, Pineville, Ruby-Kolin, and Holiday Village, respectively, responded to the blaze, located at 9740 Hwy 28 East, just before midnight Wednesday, when a neighbor contacted 911.
Upon arrival at the residence, firefighters began attacking the flames, which were observed rolling out of the windows and doors of the 3-bedroom, manufactured home.
While suppression efforts were underway, firefighters located the lifeless body of 6-year-old Jocelyn Victoria Ruiz in the living room of the residence.
With assistance from neighbors, Patricia Ruiz, 35, was able to rescue Jocelyn Ruiz’s older siblings, 8 and 12-year-old sisters, from the fire. Patricia Ruiz was later transported to an area hospital where she received treatment for cuts to her arms and foot. The 12-year-old sustained burn injuries to her body and was transported to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport. The 8-year-old suffered no injuries.
After being examined by investigators, Jocelyn Ruiz’s body was released to the Rapides Parish Coroner for autopsy.
While investigators have made no official determination as to the cause of this deadly fire, evidence points to an electric space heater located in the living room as the cause of the fire. Investigators established that the heater was in use at the time of the fire and was located in very close proximity to a number of combustibles including a couch, newspapers, and other paper products.
The home, which was significantly damaged by the fire, had no working smoke alarms.