La. Fire Kills at Least 10 Family Members
Mar. 10, 2005
MARRERO, La. (AP) _ Eleven members of a family died Thursday in an early morning fire ignited by the candles they were using because their new apartment had no electricity, authorities said.
Four members of the family escaped _ some apparently by jumping out a second-story window, officials said.
Col. Bob Garner of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said all the victims were related. They ranged in age from 6 months to 42 years.
It was not clear why so many people were in the second floor apartment. Sheriff Harry Lee said they moved in the day before and were using candles for light or heat.
The candles set fire to a mattress, and family members tried to haul it outside, Lee said.
``The mattress got jammed in the door so the mattress actually blocked the only means of escape,'' Lee said.
It appeared that some of the victims died of smoke inhalation and some of burns, Mark Goldman of the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office said. Autopsies were planned.
The four survivors were apparently not seriously injured. Garner said they were taken to the sheriff's office for questioning.
The apartment, in a lower-to-middle-class neighborhood across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, was totally aflame when rescue workers arrived shortly after 5 a.m. The fire was under control by 7 a.m.
David Jarriet, who said he has lived in the next-door apartment for 25 years, said he heard the people moving in during the night. He said he went outside to get his newspaper.
``I heard windows popping,'' he said. ``I saw flames. They were rolling.''
He said he quickly called 911.
The burned building was faced with siding. Part of the second-story wall appeared to have been blown out or knocked in, and was covered with soot.
Associated Press writer Cain Burdeau contributed to this report.