Deadly fire in Jeff Davis Parish - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Man dies in Jeff Davis fire

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A Jennings man died Monday in a house fire.

Just after 11:30 p.m. Monday, the Jennings Fire Department responded to a blaze at 211 East Willis Street.

Upon arrival, they were told two people were inside the single-story, wood-frame home. After their search, they discovered only 55-year-old Kenneth Riggs dead inside.

Family members say 51-year-old Leon Davis, Kenneth's brother-in-law, who was in the home, tried to rescue him by placing him in his wheelchair and pushing him down the hallway. But due to the size of the fire, the rescue attempt failed. Davis also attempted to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose, but was unsuccessful.

Kenneth's mother was also inside the home, but got out uninjured.

She and many neighbors say Kenneth was known for helping others and making people laugh. He was the second oldest of five children and a father to one. He became wheelchair bound due to a stroke and diabetes.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal is still investigating the fire, but foul play is not suspected.

Riggs' remains were released to the Jeff Davis Parish coroner.

Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said that thus far, it has been determined that the fire originated in a bedroom in the northwest corner of the home.

"All efforts are being made to identify the cause of this tragic fire and to provide family members with answers," he said.

According to Nancy Malone, public affairs representative for the American Red Cross, the organization is assisting the family with temporary housing, clothing and shoes as well as mental health services.

We'll have more on later editions of 7 News.

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