Officials with the State Fire Marshal's Office are continuing their investigation of a fatal house fire in Abbeville that happened in the early hours of Wednesday, December 2.

The fire happened just after midnight in the 600 block of Alphonse Street. After firefighters extinguished the blaze, they discovered the body of a man in the home's living room.

Official identification and cause of death are still pending an autopsy by the Vermilion Parish Coroner's Office, however, it is believed the victim is the 80-year-old homeowner.

After assessing the scene, deputies determined that the fire began in the home's kitchen. Witnesses stated that the home was without power and the homeowner had recently been seen purchasing large amounts of candles.

While the official cause of the fire has not been determined, deputies say they cannot rule out unsafe heating practices as a possible contributing factor.

The State Fire Marshal's Office would like to remind everyone to practice safe home heating as we continue to experience cold temperatures across the state.

Some of the top safety tips are:

  • Place space heaters three to five feet from combustible objects like blankets
  • Plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords
  • Do not use stoves or ovens to heat homes
  • Do not overfill fireplaces/wood-burning stoves
  • Do not leave candles/open flames (or space heaters) unattended
  • Have working smoke alarms in your home

The State Fire Marshal's Office does run Operation Save-A-Life which partners with local departments that provide free smoke alarm installations to those families in need of assistance.

To register for a free smoke alarm, visit lasfm.org.

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