A house fire, believed to have been started by a lit cigarette, claimed the life of an infirmed Port Barre woman Tuesday morning.

Investigators with the State Fire Marshal's Office determined the fire started in a bedroom where the body of 64-year-old Diane Winchester was found.

Firefighters from St. Landry Parish Fire District #2 were dispatched to Winchester's home on Bellanise Road at approximately 7:30 a.m., after neighbors reported smoke emanating from a bedroom window.

Investigators were told by Winchester's acquaintances she suffered from a medical condition that limited her mobility. They also said she was a heavy smoker who routinely smoked in bed.

Investigators determined the fire originated on the bed where the victim's body was found. After carefully sifting through the bedroom, investigators located smoking materials, which served to confirm statements made as to Winchester’s smoking practices.

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