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Elderly man killed, wife hurt after space heater sparked fire in their Tangipahoa home
PONCHATOULA - A disabled man was killed, and his wife was hurt Friday evening when a space heater caused a fire in their Tangipahoa Parish home.
According to the Office of State Fire Marshal, the fire happened around 6:15 p.m. Friday at a home on Esterbrook Road in Ponchatoula.
At the scene, crews with the Ponchatoula Fire Department learned a 77-year-old man, who was bedridden, was still inside. Firefighters were able to rescue him from the burning home, but he later died in a hospital.
The man's wife told State Fire Marshal deputies that they were in a front room watching TV when they heard a loud noise from the back of the house.
When she found smoke and flames, she tried to get her husband into his wheelchair so that they could escape, but she was injured during her efforts. She was unable to help get him out of the home, according to fire officials.
Investigators said the fire was sparked by a space heater in a back room that was put too close to bedding and clothing. They also said they were unable to confirm if the home had any functioning smoke alarms.
The State Fire Marshal released the following list of reminders for safe home heating practices:
- Place space heaters 3–5 feet from combustible objects like blankets and curtains
- Plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords
- Do not use stoves, ovens, or grills to heat homes
- Don’t overfill fireplaces/wood-burning stoves
- Do not leave candles/open flames (or space heaters) left unattended
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