Family identifies woman killed in St. Francisville house fire

ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Family members have released the name of a woman killed Wednesday night in a house fire in St. Francisville.

Relatives identified the victim as Kittie Elaine Johnson.

The West Feliciana Parish fire chief says the fire happened at a home in the 7000 block of Solitude Road just before 7 p.m.

Johnson told the dispatcher the front door of the house was locked and the back door was blocked by fire. The dispatcher attempted to convince Johnson to escape through a window, but to no avail.

Officials arrived on scene and tried to find Johnson, who was trapped inside. They were unable to find her and were forced to exit the home due to large blaze. Fire crews also arrived on scene and fought the fire for about 30 minutes.

Firefighters later found Johnson's body in the house. They remained on scene for some time afterwards fighting hot spots. The initial investigation reveals the blaze started due to a loveseat placed near the stove catching on fire. Officials say the stove was being used as a heat source. Also, no evidence of working smoke detectors was found in the home.

One of Johnson's friends, Gladys Ruffin, owns a convenience store down the street from the house and went to church with Johnson.

"She was a very friendly person, she was a people person, she loved kids," Ruffin said. "And she was a good church member of mine. She stayed to herself a lot, but you know, whenever you were in her company, she was always nice and friendly to you."

Ruffin saw the fire burning Wednesday night. She lives down the street from Johnson's home. "I saw the fire because I'm from right up the hill from her," Ruffin said. "When I walked out my front door, I saw the blaze, but I didn't it was her house."

One of Johnson's cousins lives next to the damaged house. She says she plans on tearing it down as soon as possible so she can forget the horrible memory.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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