A 62-year-old St. Charles Parish man was killed Wednesday in a house fire that authorities believe may have been started because he was smoking in bed.

Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office said that George Welch’s body was found in the bedroom of his home in the 300 block of Canal Street in Luling. The home was severely damaged from the fire, authorities said.

His wife, Debra Welch, told investigators that after the home’s smoke alarms sounded shortly before 2 p.m., she found a small fire burning on an edge of the bed mattress where her husband was lying. She tried to extinguish the fire, then tried to move her husband, but he was unresponsive. She left the house as the smoke and fire became more intense; she was treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Though the fire’s cause remains under investigation, investigators said burn patterns and the presence of an ashtray near where the fire began indicate that it may have started from Welch’s smoking in the bed.