Couple die in Patterson house fire

Investigators suspect an early-morning house fire in Patterson that killed two people Wednesday began when a third person fell asleep while cooking a meal, the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office said.

Patterson firefighters at 1:30 a.m. found the home at 524 Martin Luther King Ave. engulfed in flames. Firefighters later discovered the bodies of Clarence Watson, 68, and Barbara Hall, 67, in a bedroom, the release stated.

Surviving the blaze was Demetrious Owens, 20, a grandson of Hall who lived with the couple, Patterson police Officer Paula Lightfoot said.

The Fire Marshal’s Office said Owens is mentally challenged and was being supervised by the couple.

“Owens told authorities he had been cooking before the fire and had fallen asleep,” the release says. “Based on the information provided by Owens, the cause of the fire is being attributed to unsafe cooking practices.”

Owens told investigators he awoke to a burning kitchen, escaped the home and flagged down a passing police patrol car, the release says.

“The patrolman reported being unable to enter the home due to the heavy smoke and unable to rescue the elderly victims,” according to the release.

The release says the home was not equipped with smoke alarms.