Fire destroys houseboat; Ex-school board member, family deal with second fire in 7 months

Former St. Mary Parish School Board member Bill McCarty and his family were able to escape an early Thursday morning fire from the one-room cypress houseboat they had been living in since their home sustained damage in a July 2018 fire.

“It’s kind of a shock,” McCarty said. “You certainly don’t expect anything like that to happen, let alone twice in seven months.”

One occupant was treated for smoke inhalation, and a firefighter was treated for a minor injury, Assistant Fire Chief John Price said.

During the July fire, McCarty’s wife was able to pick up a couple of things and get out.

“This time there wasn’t even time to do that,” McCarty said. “It was just a matter of hoping to get the door unlocked and get out.”

At 2:47 a.m. Thursday, the Morgan City Fire Department responded to a call of a fire at the houseboat at Lake End Park. The fire destroyed the houseboat, but the two occupants were able to escape safely, Price said.

A possible cause of the fire hasn’t been determined yet. Seventeen firefighters responded and cleared the scene by 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Price said. A couple of surrounding camps had minor damage.

On July 31, 2018, McCarty’s home on Cedar Street in Morgan City sustained heavy damage to a bedroom, and a cat died in a fire. In that fire, all of the people inside the home had escaped before firefighters arrived. The bedroom that was heavily damaged is believed to be where that fire started, but the cause hasn’t been determined, Chief Alvin Cockerham said.

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