Cooking smoker source of house blaze

An outdoor cooking smoker that was too close to patio furniture caused a fire late Saturday that destroyed a house, the Baton Rouge Fire Department said.

The people living at 2834 Bartlett St., escaped unharmed, Fire Department spokesman Curt Monte said Sunday in a news release.

The fire started about 10:30 p.m. Saturday when the smoker set fire to a couch on the back patio of the home, he said. The fire spread up the back patio wall and into the attic.

When firefighters arrived, the house was engulfed in flames, the release says. The fire caused about $100,000 in damage.

Bartlett Street is in north Baton Rouge and runs between Winbourne Avenue and Choctaw Drive.

St. George responds to 2 residential fires

A short in an electrical system and an unattended pot were determined to be the causes of two residential fires the St. George Fire Department worked Sunday.

There were no injuries in either fire and the Red Cross was called to both locations, department spokesman Eldon Ledoux said in a news release.

Firefighters received a call for the first fire at 11:14 a.m. and arrived at 25921 Kendalwood Road near the Amite River at about 11:25 a.m. where they found a wood-framed house engulfed in flames, Ledoux said.

Water was supplied by tanker trucks, including one loaned by the Prairieville Fire Department, because of the house’s remote location, he said.

The fire, which was caused by an electrical short, was put out at 12:34 p.m., but the house is considered a loss, Ledoux said.

The second fire began when a pot was left unattended on a stove in Apartment C at 9149 Ridge Pine Drive, Ledoux said.

Firefighters arrived at 2:21 p.m., four minutes after the call went out, and found heavy smoke and fire coming out the apartment’s windows.

The fire was contained to that apartment, and even though it was put out in 15 minutes, the apartment was “gutted by the fire,” Ledoux said.

The two neighboring apartments in the single-story building had minor smoke damage, he said.

Editor’s note: This story was changed on May 6, 2013, to reflect the correct the time the St. George Fire Department arrived at 25921 Kendalwood Road on Sunday to fight a fire. Firefighters arrived at 11:25 a.m. and not at 11:34.

Seven arrested on suspicion of DWI

Authorities arrested at least seven people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, booking records show.

Those booked and the counts against them:

  • Maranda Howard, 23, 18870 Bienville Court, Prairieville, first-offense DWI, reckless operation of a vehicle, improper lane usage and public intimidation.
  • Benjamin Lopossa, 21, 40025 Wagner Road, Ponchatoula, first-offense DWI, improper lane usage and improper turns.
  • Bryce Swanson, 18, 5151 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI, right turn on red prohibited and reckless operation of a vehicle.
  • Weston Trahan, 49, 8920 Merchant Road, P.O. Box 348, Kaplan, second-offense DWI, motor vehicle inspection required and equipment violation.
  • Robby Turner, 46, 6961 Government St., Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI and improper lane usage.
  • Nicole Valdez, 25, 1089 Eola St., Mandeville, first-offense DWI, reckless operation of a vehicle and drinking in a motor vehicle.
  • Fredrick Warner, 35, 36342 Crestway Ave., Prairieville, first-offense DWI, hit-and-run, driver’s license suspended/revoked and careless driving.

Compiled from staff reports. To talk to a crime reporter at The Advocate, call (225) 388-0369.