Two people die in Clayton house fire Sunday

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 20, 2001

CLAYTON, La. – A Clayton couple died early Sunday morning in a house fire that is still under investigation, Fire Chief Rogers Hollins confirmed later Sunday.

Roger McNeely, 35, and girlfriend Truemiller Thomas, 33, died in a fire that engulfed their house at 206 Dianne St.

A neighbor called 911 for assistance at 12:42 a.m., and several firefighters responded.

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Those included firefighters from the Clayton Fire Department and Concordia Fire District No. 2, said Hollins and Chief Nolen Cothren of Fire District No. 2.

&uot;But by the time I&160;got there, it was completely in flames. It was a very old house made of pine and other types of wood&uot; that burn easily, Hollins said.

But the point where the fire started, and what caused the blaze, are still under investigation from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Hollins said.

Personnel of the Fire Marshal’s Office were at the scene of the fire Sunday morning and are expected to return today to continue the investigation.

The exact cause of Thomas and McNeely’s deaths – smoke inhalation or the blaze itself – is not yet known, but autopsies will be performed, Hollins said.

Hollins said Sunday’s deaths are the first fire deaths he can remember in Clayton since he began serving as the town’s fire chief more than 30 years ago.