Body found in rubble after fire in St. Tammany

SLIDELL, La. — A body was found in the rubble of a residential fire this morning in Slidell.

According to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office, detectives were called to to 37476 Brownsvillage Road, a boarding house, just after 9 a.m. after fire personnel located the body of a man while putting out a fire in one of the units at that address.

According to the state Fire Marshal’s Office, the victim is 63-year-old Bernard Walker.

A release from St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 1 said a resident of the boarding house was outside on his porch when he reported smelling smoke. When he turned around, he noticed that his neighbor’s room was on fire.

Several residents tried to come to the aid of the victim, by breaking his bedroom window and attempting to pull him out. Their efforts were unsuccessful due to the amount of smoke and fire in his room.

Several witness statements and evidence found at the scene indicate that the victim may have been smoking while lying in his bed.

It should be noted there were no working smoke detectors in the facility.

The Red Cross was called to assist the other victims who were living in the facility. The fire is still under investigation at this time, with a collaborated effort between the STFPD #1 Fire Prevention Division and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office. No injuries to any of the other tenants or firefighters were reported.