Investigators say space heater caused house fire that killed woman, headboard blocked her exit

House fire victim's mother speaks
Source: Brandon Shackelford/WAFB
Source: Brandon Shackelford/WAFB

TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Investigators said a space heater caused a fire that claimed the life of one person early Friday morning.

The victim was identified as Yolanda Dyson, 39, of Natalbany. Authorities said Dyson shared the home with her mother. The other three people in the home were young relatives. Their ages are 15, 12 and 11.

The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal reported the Natalbany Volunteer Fire Department responded to a house fire on Durbin Road, which is between Albany and Hammond, a little after 2 a.m.

Authorities said a deputy with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office told firefighters four people had escaped, but one person was believed to be trapped inside the home. Firefighters reported finding Dyson's body near a window in her bedroom. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Two of those who survived the fire were treated for minor injuries.

Investigators said a teen sleeping on the couch in the living room awoke to flames near her feet and woke up everyone else. They added the flames had started near the end of the couch, where a space heater was located. Officials reported most of the people inside the home escaped through windows. They added Dyson also tried to get out through a window, but a headboard was blocking her exit and she could not get out.

"Do not put beds at the windows in your homes and apartments because it wouldn't be a good gesture due to the fact that's the reason why she could not get out of the house because she was trapped by the furniture against the window because the fire started in the living room area of the house," said Debra Knight, the victim's aunt.

According to authorities, there were smoke detectors in the home, but they were not working at the time of the fire.

The investigation is ongoing.

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