St. Charles Herald-Guide

3 children died in holiday blaze that burned down Norco family’s house

By Shonna Riggs - December 13, 2006

And chief Robert Lupe remembers the tragic, 2001 blaze well.

“The fire occured at 11:52 p.m. It was a horrible scene, the mother told us that she had just stepped next door to talk to her sister, and within a matter of a few moments her entire house was on fire. There were two little girls inside the house and one boy,” Lupe told the Herald-Guide.


He notes that the space heater was left in a back bedroom and ignited “something flammable.”

“This was an older wood framed house, without a central heater and the family was just trying to keep warm. I remember the night we responded to the call - it was freezing cold,” says Lupe, who coordinated with Hahnville’s Fire Chief Reggie Gaubert on the call.

Recalls Gaubert: “I remember the night so well because we had to go in and recover the bodies of the children.”

Gaubert tells the Herald-Guide that families should take these precautions when using space heaters:

-Place a space heater on a flat nonflammable surface.

-Never plug a space heater into an extension cord.

-Do not leave children or pets alone when operating a space heater.

Firefighter monitors a “training fire” at a condemned house.
Firefighter monitors a “training fire” at a condemned house.