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Allen Parish fire chief’s home is total loss after house fire

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 9:44 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Les Kolb is the fire chief for Allen Parish Fire Department District 3. A man who has dedicated years to fighting fires in the parish - now, met with one of his own.

It was a devastating blow Wednesday as flames engulfed his own home. Several hotspots were still smoking a day later.

“We’ve been to a lot of fires. I’ve just never been on this side of one before,” Kolb said. “It just proves it can happen to anybody.”

Kolb says his family was miles away on vacation when he received a phone call from his granddaughter saying a fire started in the oven. He says one word comes to mind when looking at the rubble of the home he grew up in.

“Loss,” Kolb said. “There’s things that we could never replace. I’ve lived in this house since 1967 - 54 years.”

A handful of items were able to be salvaged.

“A few pictures, part of a Bible, that’s about it,” Kolb said. “We’ll never replace the sentimental items, but the house, the stuff in the house - that can be replaced. That’s nothing. Everybody got out, that’s the main thing.”

A humbling but also horrible experience which Kolb wouldn’t wish on anyone.

“Always check ovens before you turn them on, make sure they’re clear,” Kolb said. “In this case, there may have been something in there that ignited. Normally, if you can just close the oven, it can help smother the fire out. But a good fire extinguisher is always nice to have and a good fire department.”

Kolb believes he has just that.

“The support from the community and friends and neighbors coming has... just overwhelming,” Kolb said.

Chief Kolb says his home was insured, and now, his family is looking on the bright side and hoping to rebuild.

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