Lafayette Coroner Says Woman’s Death In Benchmark Lounge Fire Was Accidental
In February of this year, Lafayette Fire Department officials responded to the 200 block of Tubing road about a commercial fire at Benchmark Lounge. After putting out the fire, they found 42-year-old Kristina Henry Kiplinger dead inside of the lounge.
Kiplinger was a patron of the lounge on the night before the next day's fire. She was also a friend of the owner and employees of Benchmark Lounge.
The Lafayette Parish Coroner's Office says the cause of Kiplinger's death was "fire with contribution of alcohol toxicity". They have ruled her death an accident, but the cause of the fire is still not determined at this time.
While the lounge closed at 2 a.m. that morning, the manager and the last patrons left a short while later, but no one knew that Kiplinger was still inside of the lounge.
Employees and friends assumed the woman had left prior to the lounge closing.
Fire officials were told that was not the first time than someone had stayed or slept in the lounge overnight.
Officials say they are still investigating the closing procedures for the lounge, and Kiplinger's possible location in the building after it was closed.