Fire claims life of Natchitoches man; father injured also



Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #6 and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the cause of a fire that claimed the life of a Natchitoches man and injured his elderly father Wednesday evening.

Deputies responded to 911 reports of a structure fire in the 100 block of Dogwood Court in Cedar Grove Subdivision just east of Natchitoches Nov. 20 at approximately 8 p.m.

The caller reported they believed someone was inside the mobile home.

Deputies learned that Walter Rachal, 93, of Natchitoches was suffering from minor burns and possible smoke inhalation. He had been pulled from the burning home by a neighbor.

Natchitoches Parish Fire District #6, with assistance from Natchitoches Parish Fire District #5 and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS responded.

Rachal was transported from the scene by EMS to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where he remains undergoing treatment.

Deputies also learned that an additional occupant was possibly still inside the mobile home.

After the fire was contained, Fire District #6 firefighters found the body of a male in the front bedroom.

Natchitoches Parish Deputy Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton pronounced Claude Neal Rachal, 67, of 117 Dogwood Court, Natchitoches, dead at the scene.

Investigators with the La. State Fire Marshal’s Office and Detectives with the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division also responded to assist in the investigation to determine a cause of the fire.

Deputies say the mobile home received heavy damage.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #6 and the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division.

Sheriff Jones extends his sympathy to the Rachal family.