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UPDATE: Victim Identified in Fatal House Fire in Ruston

A house fire claimed the life of a 58-year-old Ruston man.
Thursday Update: Late last evening, State Fire Marshal investigators responded to investigate a residential structure fire in Lincoln Parish that claimed the life of a 58 year old Ruston resident.

At approximately 7:10pm. yesterday, Ruston firefighters were dispatched to 2005 Beech Street. Upon their arrival, a single story home was found heavily involved in fire and venting flames at the rear of the home. An occupant who had escaped the blaze told firefighters that the other occupant of the home had not yet exited the burning structure.

After the fire was extinguished, firefighters located the body of 58 year old Robert Nelson in a bathroom in the southwestern portion of the home. State Fire Marshal Investigators were called upon to assist Ruston officials with determining the cause of this deadly fire.

The surviving occupant, 76 year old Jeri Rhodes, told investigators she discovered the fire burning in the rear of the home. Rhodes, who is the mother of Nelson and already awake at the time, alerted Nelson to the fire. Nelson assisted Rhodes in exiting the burning home, closing the door behind her, presumably to attempt to extinguish the fire. Nelson was never seen alive again.

Fire patterns observed by investigators last night were consistent with a fire originating in the area reported by Rhodes. Investigators returned to the scene today to continue their efforts to identify the cause of the fire.

At this time, it is believed the home was not equipped with working smoke alarms.



UPDATE 9:50 p.m. --
Ruston firefighters confirm one person has died in a fire that occurred on Beech Street in Ruston Wednesday night.

Firefighters said a 9-1-1 call was placed for a fire in the 2000 block of Beech Street in Ruston at 6:22 p.m.

Firefighters said the home was heavily involved in the fire by the time firefighters arrived and two people were living in the house at the time. Authorities said one victim managed to escape but the other perished in the blaze.

Firefighters said the home did have working smoke alarms, but the origin and cause of the fire as well as why the victim could not get out of the fire in time is all under investigation.

Firefighters said the home is a total loss and the Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal is on scene investigating the blaze.

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RUSTON -- Ruston firefighters and investigators with the Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal are reporting a fatal fire that happened in Ruston Wednesday night.

Investigators said the fire happened on Beech Avenue in Ruston around 6 p.m.

For now, investigators said one person has died in the fire.

We are still gathering details about the exact address of the fire. For now, investigators are still working to tell us more.

We will bring you more details once we receive them.
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