Lone Smoke Detector Wasn’t Working in Tragic Slidell House Fire that Killed Family of Four
The St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1 are reportedly investigating a house fire in Slidell that resulted in a family of four dying. Authorities on the scene say that the home only had one smoke detector inside and it was not working at the time of the blaze, per reports.
Reports say that sixteen units and 44 firefighters responded to the house fire in the Eden Isles neighborhood of Slidell early on the morning of January, 19, 2022. Initial details of the investigation say that the fire started at the back of the home and traveled up to the attic, per the report.
Footage from the scene of the blaze from WDSU News on Facebook shows the severity of the fire.
More reports say that the home only had one smoke detector inside. WDSU News says that the smoke detector was not working at the time that the fire began.
The report goes on to add that fire officials are saying the fire itself was an accident, but have not yet released how the blaze began. One member of the family of five was not present at the home at the time of the fire.
The coroner was reportedly able to identify the family of four, which included two young girls. The deceased included 33-year-old mother Phoenix Lousteau, her 40-year-old husband Stephen Lousteau, and their two children 5-year-old Payton Lousteau and 10-year-old Mackenzie Lousteau per the report.
Reports say that the coroner says that there were not any evidence of burns on the bodies of the victims and that he believes they died of smoke inhalation. An autopsy will be conducted to provide an official cause of death, per the reports.
One report says neighbors reported the fire after propane tanks exploded on the back porch of the home around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Authorities stayed on the scene of the fire to investigate further, as damage was visible throughout.
The report from WLBT quotes St. Tammany fire chief Chris Kaufmann in saying, "There is no question that working smoke detectors would give this family a chance to wake up and get out". The chief added to his statement, "But this family didn't have a chance" per the report. The chief said that in his 34 years in Slidell, they have never lost a family in a residential house fire in such a tragic manner.
Family member Stephen Lousteau Sr. reportedly said, "If there is one message I want people to know, it is to please check your smoke detectors before you go to bed tonight.
See a report from KSLA News 12 on Facebook below.
More photos and videos from the scene of the incident below.
The full briefing from authorities on the scene of the fire via WVUE FOX 8 on Facebook here.
Back in October of 2021, the Lafayette Fire Department held a fire prevention drive-thru parade to educate the community during fire prevention week. Now is as good as a time as ever to remind you to ensure your family has a plan in place in case of a fire and also to make sure you have working smoke detectors across your home.