Webster Parish man dies in out-of-control burn

An elderly Webster Parish man died Monday when his burn pile got out of control, the state fire marshal said Tuesday in a news release.

The death of the 80-year-old man is the fourth attributed to open burning this year in the state, Fire Marshal “Butch” Browning said.

“These are sad and stunning cases that should bring everyone pause,” said Browning. “Just because there is no burn ban in place in your area, that does not mean that conditions can’t change quicker than you can safely react.”

The most recent happened around 2 p.m. Monday in the 200 block of Wilton Road in Sarepta. Firefighters were called to a report of a large grass fire.

A 911 caller reported her neighbor’s burn pile was spreading to another property and the man could not be found. Firefighters later found his burned body on the next door property, along with evidence he had been trying to stop the spread of the fire, the fire marshal’s office said.

Sheriff Jason Parker identified the man as Jimmy Thompson. 

“Don’t let the fact that you’re burning brush outside keep you from understanding smoke from that fire can and will overtake you if you’re not careful,” said Browning. “Conducting open burning is a dangerous practice, no matter how frequently you do it, and it requires multiple safety steps to be taken every single time.”