Trailer fire kills Angola prison guard

SOLITUDE — A 52-year-old Louisiana State Penitentiary officer died Friday afternoon when trapped inside her burning mobile home on Solitude Road.

Chief Tommy Boyett, of West Feliciana Parish Fire Protection District 1, said firefighters found the body of Brenda Mills near the back door of her residence, which was engulfed in flames when neighbors discovered the fire.

The fire is under investigation by the fire district, state Fire Marshal’s Office and West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Boyett said the investigation may determine whether Mills was confronted by a locked door as she tried to escape.

Neighbors, whose nearby homes were not damaged by the flames, reported the fire at 1:53 p.m., and the first firetruck arrived in less than 10 minutes.

Neighbors Wanda Turner and Denise Barfield said they tried to enter the residence through the front door, but the flames drove them back.

Turner said she kicked the door open, but the flames were too intense for the two to see inside.

“The fire met us at the door, so we couldn’t go in,” Barfield said.

Mills was a corrections sergeant assigned to Angola’s Main Prison and had been employed at the penitentiary since November 1999, Angola spokesman Gary Young said.

“She was a good employee; a wonderful employee,” Young said.

Angola Warden Burl Cain extended condolences on behalf her fellow employees to Mills’ relatives and friends.

“She’ll be greatly missed,” Cain said.

Boyett said firefighters used a four-wheel drive truck to push Mills’ car from under a carport attached to the mobile home.

“I’m glad they did. If it had caught on fire, it would have made it a lot worse,” the fire chief said.


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