Damage to Slidell home too extensive to determine cause of fatal fire

SLIDELL, La. (WVUE) – Authorities are unable to determine the cause of a fire that killed four family members in Slidell.

Investigators say the fire was accidental in nature, but the damage to the home was too extensive to determine where and how it started.

The fire mainly started at the rear of the house, with a covered wooden deck running the full length of the house.

“Numerous possible ignition sources have been located in the original area, and investigators have examined the scene thoroughly to determine which sources may or may not have contributed to the ignition of the fire,” the statement said on Friday. officials in a press release.

Investigators were able to rule out a barbecue pit and attached propane tank found in the area, as well as a crawfish burner that was not attached to a propane tank.

Other sources found in the area that could not be completely ruled out were; exterior decorative lights around the bridge, power lines running under the bridge, and a power strip found in the area.

“Unfortunately, with the extent of the damage to this part of the home, investigators were unable to scientifically determine exactly which ignition source was responsible for this tragic fire,” the statement concluded.

Four family members, including two children, died early Wednesday (January 19) when a fire raged through a home in the Eden Isles subdivision of Slidell that had an inoperative smoke detector, firefighters said .

“This was a tragic, tragic fire,” said Chris Kaufmann, fire prevention district chief for St. Tammany No. 1. “We have never lost a family like this to a residential fire in the past my 34 years at Slidell. … This is just not normal for firefighters.

Parish coroner Dr. Charles Preston identified the victims as Phoenix Lousteau, 33; her husband Stephen Lousteau, 40; and their daughters Payton Lousteau, 5, and Mackenzie Lousteau, 10. Dr Preston will carry out autopsies on the victims, but he says there were no signs of burns on the bodies and believes all four died of smoke inhalation.

Following: Parents, two daughters killed in Slidell fire

The fifth member of the family – a teenage brother who spent the night at his mother’s residence on the south shore – was located and told that the rest of his family had perished, after firefighters braved the flames and a thick smoke to confirm he was not in the lodge.

Officials say that to schedule the installation of a smoke detector under the program, you can contact your local fire department.

To register online to have one installed, CLICK HERE.

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