Louisiana Fire Marshal: Child dies in Geismar fire

Staff Report
A juvenile died in a fire on the afternoon of Oct. 10 in Geismar, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal reported.

The Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal reported the death of child in an Ascension Parish fire.

According to a news release, the Geismar Fire Department responded to a trailer fire behind a house in the 37000 block of Cornerview Road about 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 10.

According to a fire marshal release, first responders arrived to find a flatbed, cargo trailer, and its contents, on fire in the front yard of the property. The body of a child was found under the contents.

While official identification and cause of death are pending with the Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office, the victim is believed to be a 6-year-old male resident of the home next door to where the fire occurred.

Following an assessment of the scene, deputies determined the victim and two siblings, ages nine and four, had been playing on the trailer in front of a relative’s home, which was next door to their home.

Adults were present inside both homes at the time of the fire. Deputies learned the children were playing inside of a hollowed-out, pre-fabricated concrete staircase that had been covered in an effort to create a fort environment.

Witness statements indicate the children had possession of a lighter and used it to light a small pile of combustible objects as though it was a campfire. While the other two children were able to escape unharmed, the six-year-old was trapped and died.

“There is no other way to describe this other than purely tragic,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “While we are keeping this child and his family in our prayers, we’re also pleading with other families to learn from this devastating loss.”

The SFM recommends making sure all smoking-related materials in and around your home, including lighters, are kept out of the reach of children.

In addition, the SFM asks parents and guardians to remind children and teenagers that fire is not a toy and that playing with fire can have dangerous consequences for them as well as the people and property around them.

Later in the night, Geismar Volunteer Fire Department shared an update to its Facebook page reporting that crews found a utility trailer on fire.

"Upon talking with family it was determined that the children were playing on the utility trailer making a “make-shift” fort, subsequently the fort caught on fire. One child escaped and the other succumbed to his injuries on the scene. We want to send our deepest condolences and prayers to the family during this difficult time," the department stated in the post.

Geismar Fire also thanked the first responder who went to the call.

"We want to thank 7th District Fire, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, and Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal for their response and diligence. It was tough for everyone involved, just please keep the family and everyone involved in your prayers in the days and weeks coming," the post concluded.