Electrical malfunction to blame for deadly fire that killed elderly man

Published: Jul. 21, 2014 at 12:53 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2014 at 2:06 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Fire officials say a deadly fire on Saturday was the result of an electrical malfunction involving a power strip. Investigators add 90 year old Steve Paxton died in the fire on Bay Street.

“You go over there and ask them for anything they got it, they'll give it to you,” said neighbor Alvin Anderson.

Anderson lives down the street from the Paxtons and says he mowed the couples’ lawn on a regular basis.

“If you look at it now, it needs cutting now,” said Anderson. “I wish I could have come over here at that point of time to ask him about his yard and realize that you know the fire was going on and i could have kicked the door in, anything just to save him around that time.”

Anderson was not home at the time of the fire but investigators say other neighbors who noticed the flames and called for help tried frantically to get into the house and in fact were pounding on the door when Baton Rouge firefighters arrived.

“It's very tragic and our heart goes to the family for the loved one that was lost. Fortunately the firefighters did a phenomenal job to be able to get the female victim out in a timely manner,” said Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman Curt Monte. “Seconds counted and they did a phenomenal job of getting in home and rescuing her.”

Investigators conclude the fire began in a back bedroom where an air conditioner was plugged into a power cord. Fire experts say unfortunately tragic accidents are often the result of electrical failures and urge homeowners to check outlets and remain proactive.

“Generally when we have fires whether they're tragic fires, big fires, small fires, it's those things that can be avoided so just use common sense, read those labels and use those appliances as directed,” added Monte.

The advice did little to sooth the heavy hearts of neighbors like Anderson who say Paxton will be greatly missed.

“He used cook me something to eat, give me a cold drink and always look out for me.

He was very, very good people,” said Anderson.

Steve Paxton’s wife of more than 50 years 87 year old Helen Paxton was released from the hospital Saturday night and is with family members.

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