Prairieville man dies in fire

Staff reports

BATON ROUGE – A Prairieville man died early Saturday in a camper fire, according to Louisiana State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning.

Michael J. Miller, 63, was in a 35-foot, fifth wheel recreational camper at 44299 Erwin Villar Jr. Road when the fire occurred around 1:54 a.m., Browning said.

Galvez-Lake, Seventh District and St. Amant volunteer firefighters responded to find the camper completely consumed, he said. A nearby residential structure was also threatened.

Miller was pronounced dead at the scene, Browning said.

“Firefighters gave their all to make a difference, unfortunately, this death occurred well before their arrival as this fire was burning, undetected, for a long time,” Browning said. “The camper had no working smoke detector.”

The fire marshal emphasized the importance of maintaining working detectors.

“I ask that every family, right now, take the time to test your smoke detector,” he said. “If the battery is dead replace it. If you don’t have one, get one right now. If you go to bed tonight and there is a fire, you will probably not survive without a working smoke detector.”

The fire marshal’s office is working with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Ascension Coroner's Office to determine the cause of death in the case.

Browning said the fire appeared to be accidental in nature, and the investigation centers around some electrical and heating causes.

He said the arson K-9 was used and ruled out the presence of flammable liquids as a cause of the fire.

“We will be awaiting results of an autopsy as well as other evidence collected by the sheriff as later this week we complete our investigation,” Browning said.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to Mr. Miller’s family and friends and pledge our full efforts to best determine the reason why this fire occurred and to take steps to prevent others in the future,” the fire marshal said.