UPDATE: Lit cigarette triggers house explosion in New Iberia, killing elderly woman and her husband


UPDATE, 10/14: The Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office confirms the husband’s death, as well, identifying him as Mark Cunningham, 73.

ORIGINAL POST: NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) A woman is dead, and her husband is battling burns on over 90% of his body after a house fire in New Iberia.

Firefighters were called to the home on Lost Lake Lane just before 8 a.m. Sunday.

“On arrival, there was a gentleman at the road who had extensive burns to probably over 90% of his body.” District 1 Iberia Parish Fire Chief Guy M. Bonin said.

The man told firefighters his wife was still inside their burning home.

“We moved on to the back of the property where he said his wife was, and the home was fully engulfed by the time we got to the back of the property,” Bonin said.

His wife did not make it out alive.

Her husband says the fire started when his wife lit a cigarette in the living room.

At that point, there was an explosion, and the home went up in flames.

Fire investigators believe a gas leak near the home is to blame for the accident.

“They had some damage from a tree that uprooted a portion of the property, and there was a gas line that was broken. It was closed off by the home owner, but we’re guessing there was another leak on that same line that could have been the issue,” Bonin told News Ten.

Though not common, Chief Bonin says gas leaks are always something to look out for, even when there’s not a storm.

“When that ignition temperature is met, if there is an ignition source that enters into it, the explosion can happen,” he said.

The chief says you can usually smell if there’s a gas leak, and you should taken action immediately.

“If you smell gas, you need to get out of the house. Try to make a call from the outside if you can, because it doesn’t take much for the ignition levels to be correct for it to ignite,” he added.

The husband’s condition is unknown at this time.

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