Ferriday fire claims one life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2009

FERRIDAY — A local man gave his life trying to ensure the safety of his family during a late-night house fire Tuesday.

The Concordia Fire District No. 2 received a call about a house fire at 2150 Haphazard Road, near Ferriday.

The caller told the dispatcher that the father of the family who lived there may have still been inside the building.

Email newsletter signup

When the emergency responders arrived at the scene, Fire District No. 2 Chief Nolen Cothern said they found the dwelling — which housed seven people — completely engulfed in flames.

The roof was already collapsing.

After a short search of the building, rescuers found the body of Prentiss Newbill Sr., 53, in the back bedroom, according to a statement from the state fire marshal’s office.

“It looks like he was trying to make sure everyone was out of the house, and it appears the smoke overtook him,” Cothern said.

Newbill was apparently trying to follow a wall to an exit when he was overwhelmed, Cothern said.

Those who escaped the fire were Theresa Newbill, 46, Prentiss Newbill Jr., 20, and four children whose ages ranged from 11 months to 19.

Theresa Newbill sustained burns to her back and hands, while his 17-year-old daughter received burns to her face and hand.

His 4-year-old son sustained injuries to his arms and hands.

The injured were treated for their burns at Riverland Medical Center.

Prentiss Newbill Jr. and two of the children, a 3-year-old and an 11-month-old, escaped the fire without injury.

The initial investigation has led responders to believe that the fire started from a wood-burning stove in the house’s living room, Cothern said.

Authorities believe that Newbilll Sr. re-entered the house in an attempt to find his 4-year-old son, who was already safe outside the house.

The oldest son, Prentiss Newbill Jr., re-entered the house, located the child and took him to safety, the fire marshal’s office said.

The fire district, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office and the state fire marshal are investigating the blaze.