A joint investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and La. State Fire Marshal is being conducted into a fire that claimed the life of a Natchitoches man early Sunday morning according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones.
On Sunday morning January 29 at approximately 4:19am, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #7 responded to reports of a structure fire in the 7500 block of La. Hwy 6, west of Natchitoches, La.
Deputies say while fire fighters from NPFD# 7 were extinguishing the fire, they received information that the structure a 12 by 32 fifth-wheel travel trailer was possibly occupied.
A search of the burned travel trailer led to the discovery of a body inside according to Sheriff Jones.
Investigators from the La. State Fire Marshal’s Office, NPSO Criminal Investigations Division and Natchitoches Parish Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton also responded to the scene.
The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office positively identified the body as that of Mr. Theron E. Starnes Jr., 55, of 7568 Hwy 6, Natchitoches, La.
Starnes reportedly lived in the trailer for approximately two years.
Investigators located a space heater in the living room area of the trailer that sustained heavy fire damage.
NPSO Deputies say while speaking with State Fire Marshal investigators today, the space heater is believed, but not confirmed, to be the source of the fire.
The remains were sent for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
State Fire Marshall investigators say the preliminary investigation results states Starnes succumbed to smoke inhalation as the cause of death.
There were no smoke detectors in the trailer.
The investigation is continuing by the La. State Fire Marshal’s Office, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #7 although at this time the fire appears to be accidental.
Fire Marshal investigators requested that we urge the public to install smoke detectors in every room of the home, and at least one in travel trailers.