NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) — The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office says a malfunctioning water pump started a camper trailer fire that killed an 81-year-old man.
The fire was out when a relative went to bring the man breakfast on Saturday, but smoke apparently had killed him while he slept, according to a news release.
Fires and carbon monoxide have killed 18 people in 16 incidents so far this year, fire marshal’s spokeswoman Ashley Rodrigue said in an email.
Katie Sangid, 81, of Shreveport died Friday in a cooking-related fire, KTBS-TV reported.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported that a 68-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman in Avoyelles Parish died Friday of carbon monoxide poisoning after a generator was placed in the camper in which they were staying.
Rodrigue said the fire marshal’s office is investigating a death in Natchitoches.
Official identification and cause of death are pending an autopsy, but the New Iberia victim is believed to be the camper’s owner, the statement said.
The man had moved the camper from his own property in Sunset to the relative’s property in New Iberia because of the winter weather threat across the state. Sunset is about 32 miles (52 kilometers) north-northeast of New Iberia.
Deputies found that an electrical malfunction of the camper’s water pump caused it to overheat and catch fire. A smoke alarm in the camper did not work.
The fire marshal’s office said it’s as important to check smoke alarms every month to make sure they’re working as it is to have at least one in every home.