Sunset man dies in New Iberia camper fire

The Iberia parish Coroner's Office has confirmed the identity of the 81-year-old Sunset man who died as a result of a camper trailer fire on Juanita Street Saturday morning.

According to the coroner, the decedent involved in the fire has been identified as Leonce Romero Jr.

Shortly after 8 a.m. on Feb. 20, the New Iberia Fire Department responded to a call for a camper trailer fire located in the 1700 block of Juanita Street. A relative discovered the victim and remnants of a fire when bringing the occupant breakfast.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office stated that investigators believe Romero owned the camper and had traveled from his property in Sunset to the relative’s property in New Iberia due to the winter weather threat across the state.

After an assessment of the scene, deputies determined the fire originated in the camper's water pump compartment. The cause of the fire has been determined as an electrical malfunction of the camper's water pump that led to the pump overheating and catching fire, which resulted in smoke spreading throughout the camper. It is believed that despite the fire self-extinguishing, the man was overcome by the smoke while he was sleeping, resulting in his death.

Deputies were able to locate a smoke alarm in the camper, but it did not activate.

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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