PONCHATOULA, LA (WAFB) - A wood-burning stove is what Louisiana fire officials are blaming a deadly fire on in Ponchatoula late Saturday night.
State Fire Marshal investigators responded to a structure fire at a camp on the Tangipahoa River at about 11:00.
One victim of the fire, 54-year-old Elizabeth Piner, fled the burning structure by driving a boat to a nearby camp. She received second-degree-burns to her hands and forearms, and lesser burns to her face and head. She was transported to an area hospital via helicopter.
Investigators learned that Piner was sleeping in a bedroom of the camp with a friend, 57-year-old Joel Hall, when she was awakened by smoke. Upon finding the source of the fire, a wood-burning stove, she sustained burns attempting to find and warn Hall. Piner eventually was able to escape by driving Hall's boat to a nearby camp for help.
The structure was described as a small, wood-framed camp that was accessible only by boat. Firefighters used river water to battle the flames, but the fire eventually destroyed the building.
After the fire was extinguished, investigators located a body believed to be Hall. The body was released for autopsy after being examined by investigators.
Investigators determined that the fire was caused accidentally, as the camp had no electrical power.