On February 16, 2013, Lafayette Fire Department responded to 220 Tubing Road, Benchmark Lounge, for a reported commercial fire. After extinguishing the fire, fire officials discovered the victim, later identified as Kristina Henry Kiplinger (42) inside the lounge.
Ms. Kiplinger was a patron of the lounge the night prior to the morning fire. She was a friend of the owner and employees of the Benchmark. The lounge closed around 2 a.m. The manger and the last patrons left the establishment sometimes later and, unknowingly, Ms. Kiplinger was still inside.
Employees and friends assumed she left prior to closing. This was not the first time an individual(s) stayed or slept in the lounge overnight. The closing procedures for the lounge and circumstances as to her possible location in the building are still being investigated.
Lafayette Parish Coroner's Office has determined the cause of the death as "fire with contribution of alcohol toxicity". The manner of death ruled an accident.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined.
Benchmark Lounge Fire Victim Identified
With the assistance of the Lafayette Sheriff Department and the Coroner's Office, the victim of the fire at the Benchmark Lounge on Saturday has been identified. The next of kin has been notified as well.
The victim was, Kristina Henry Kiplinger, 42 year old white female. Ms. Kiplinger was a patron and friend of the employees of the lounge.
Ms. Kiplinger was at the lounge the night prior to the fire. Fire and Sheriff investigators are still investigating the incident. The cause of death and fire is still under investigation.