Dee Dee Thurston, Courtesy Houma Today
HOUMA, Louisiana — An early morning fire in an east-Houma trailer killed three siblings and left their father with serious burns, fire officials said.
A 13-year-old girl and two boys, ages 11 and 12, died in the fire at 120 Whispering Oaks Trailer Park, a cluster of older mobile homes off Main Street near East Street, said Mike Delaune with the state Fire Marshal’s Office.
The fire was called in by neighbors about 1:30 a.m., and the trailer was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Houma Fire Inspector Mike Millet said.
The children’s father managed to rescue one child but was unable to get to the three who died. The dad, who was seriously burned on his arms during the attempt, was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to the burn unit in Baton Rouge, Millet said.
“The fire was so quick, he just couldn’t get to them,” Millet said.
Names of the children, their father or of the eight people inside the home when the fire started were not available. Though officials at the burned out trailer said this morning that none of the others — three adults and five children ages 14 months to 10 years — were hurt, Doug Cain with the state Fire Marshal’s Office said this afternoon that everyone inside was taken to a local hospital for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation. The deceased children’s mother and five other children were also being treated at the Baton Rouge General Hospital burn unit.
The fire started in the kitchen/living room of the two-bedroom trailer, a state Fire Marshal’s Office news release says, and may have been sparked by space heaters or candles in use throughout the home.
Four children were sleeping in that room when the fire started, the release says,
The dead children’s parents, asleep in a bedroom, were alerted of the fire when smoke started seeping under their bedroom door, Cain said. The dad ran into the burning room, rushed one child to safety but was unable to get back inside to the others.
The children’s mother escaped out the bedroom window with another child, the release says. The other occupants were asleep in a bedroom on the opposite end of the trailer and escaped through the back door.
There were no working smoke detectors in the trailer, authorities said.
The children and their parents were visiting from Alabama for Christmas, Millet said. The Alabama family was staying with family members who live here, authorities said, but it wasn’t immediately clear how the two families are related.
Houma Police Chief Todd Duplantis did not immediately return a Courier phone call.
The fire destroyed the trailer, an older, white single-wide with a brown or orange trim.
A neighboring trailer suffered heat damage, and the fire also destroyed two cars and a shed belonging to the trailer that burned.
One of those cars was an Explorer bearing Alabama plates and a “Proud Parent of an Honor Roll Student, Terrebonne Parish Schools” sticker.
Video from WWL-TV