Angela Carmouche stands amid the rubble of what was her home on Schexneyder Road between Marksville and Mansura. The family’s truck, in the background, was also destroyed in the fire that occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on July 4. {Photo by Raymond L. Daye}

July 4th ends in tragedy for Mansura couple

Housefire kills two pets, destroys home

Angela Carmouche has spent much of her life helping abused animals find new homes. Now it is the Carmouches who are in need of help to rebuild their home, destroyed by fire July 4.

“We lost everything,” Angela said. “We did not have time to get anything out, not even my dogs. Even the truck, which was parked in front of the house, was destroyed.”

Angela said she and her husband, David, sat on the porch of their home on Schexneyder Road, behind Walmart, and watched the Marksville fireworks display. They went to bed after the fireworks finished.

Their 20-year-old son Kirkland came home a little later. He was on the telephone when he heard something popping in the living room.

“He went in and the living room was on fire,” Angela said. “He woke us up and told us to get out. I made my first call to 911 at 10:14 p.m. as I was climbing out the window. If my son had been home and gone to bed when we did, we all would have perished.”

The electrical fire started near the air conditioner, Mansura Fire Chief Kenny Bordelon said.

“The homeowners’ son saw the smoke and flame and got them out of the house,” Bordelon said. "One of our firemen lives near there and was the first person on the scene. The son wanted to go back into the house to get the truck key, but our fireman told him that the fire was too large by then. If he had gone in for that truck key, he would not have made it back out.”

The Marksville Fire Department was called to assist. The fire was extinguished shortly after that, but the house was a total loss.

The house was uninsured and the truck had only liability insurance, Angela said.

‘CAN'T HAPPEN TO ME'

“We had to drop the insurance on the house because my husband’s employer kept laying him off,” she said. “I was always one of those who said, ‘It can’t happen to me -- but it did.”

So far the only assistance the family has received has been an emergency cash allocation from the Red Cross of $375.

While losing everything in the fire is a devastating blow, the loss of the two dogs is even harder.

Belle was an older poodle that the Carmouches had just recently taken from the Humane Society of Louisiana (HSL). She had been thrown out of a car.

Hope was an 18-month pit bull that she rescued about a year ago.

A third rescue animal, a horse named Trigger, was in a shed behind the house. He sustained some burns but will be okay, Angela said.

Those are just a few of the many animals that Angela has opened her home and heart to help as a volunteer for the HSL for the past 10 years.

HSL Director Jeff Dorson said the Humane Society is coordinating an effort to collect donations of cash, clothing and household supplies to help the Carmouches recover from this tragedy.

He said Angela “has been active in the animal rescue movement for many years” and the dogs she lost had been victims of abuse.

Items being requested to help the Carmouches are gas or gift cards, dishes, kitchen utensils, horse feed (hay/pellets), men's 34/30 pants and medium to large shirts, women's 9/10 pants and medium to large shirts.

Dorson said those wishing to donate can call Angela at (318) 587-0540.

“Individuals, churches or civic associations can also make a financial donation through this link: https://www.gofundme. com/carmouche-family-house-fire-help,” Dorson added.

The Carmouches are staying with David’s sister, Shirley McCann, in Marksville but they are trying to get a small trailer to set up on the home site.

The fact that this personal tragedy occurred at the end of a festive day is not lost on her.

“I may never celebrate the Fourth of July again,” Angela said.

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