St. Joseph Abbey fire badly damages dormitory

Abbey firefighters

By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Times-Picayune
on September 26, 2012 at 7:57 AM, updated September 26, 2012 at 10:21 AM

A fire at St. Joseph Abbey Catholic Seminary near Covington early Wednesday badly damaged a dormitory building there, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office. The 2:30 a.m. blaze started in a room housing computer server equipment; extended into an attic in the area; and spread to other parts of the structure, causing significant flame and smoke damage throughout, said Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning.

St. Joseph Abbey seminarians safe after early morning fire
“At this point, nothing suspicious has come to our attention, but it’s still too early to come up with a conclusion,” Browning remarked. “In this situation where no one was hurt, we can give credit to the fact that this facility had a fire detection system, and that gave the early warning. … That goes a long way in ensuring safety.”

State Police offering child car seat inspections on Saturday

By Robert Rhoden, The Times-Picayune
on September 18, 2012 at 11:04 AM, updated September 18, 2012 at 11:14 AM Email | Print

State police and members of the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force on Saturday will provide free car seat inspections and information on their use at several locations in the New Orleans area and beyond. In connection with Child Passenger Safety Week, technicians will be on hand to conduct seat inspections ensuring proper installation of each child’s safety seat, Trooper Nick Manale, of Troop L, said in a news release.

Parents and caregivers also will be provided with life-saving information regarding the appropriate seat for each child’s age, weight, and height, he said. Child safety seats including booster seats offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash, Manale said. When properly installed and used, child seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for children under 1, and by 54 percent for children 1- to 4-years-old. But an estimated three of every four car seats are not used properly, Manale said.

Inspections will be held Saturday at the following locations:

* Troop A Region – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Brilliant Minds Learning Center
1421 Gardere Lane
Baton Rouge, LA 70820

* Troop B Region – 9 a.m. to noon

St. Bernard Parish government complex
8201 West Judge Perez Drive
Chalmette, LA 70043

* Troop C Region – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Houma Walmart
1633 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Houma, LA 70360

* Troop I Region – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

St. Martin Hospital
210 Champagne Boulevard
Breaux Bridge, LA 70517

* Troop L Region – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mandeville Kmart
3555 Highway 190
Mandeville, LA 70471
985-893-6250 Ext: 628

In addition to Saturday’s events, every Louisiana State Police Troop Headquarters serves as a grant-funded Child Passenger Safety fitting station on designated days throughout the week. In addition, technicians are available upon request to perform inspections at daycare centers, schools, and various community events. There are also programs available to those individuals who may not be able to afford a child safety seat, Manale said.

To schedule an appointment, learn about a troop area’s inspection day, or arrange for a check up event, contact your region’s State Police public information officer.

Wife mourns electrician who was electrocuted near Abita Springs

By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Times-Picayune
on September 04, 2012 at 4:59 PM, updated September 04, 2012 at 5:06 PM

An electrician working on the power system of a home near Abita Springs over the weekend in the wake of Hurricane Isaac died after he received an electrical shock, according to authorities in St. Tammany Parish. William Schlenker Sr., 67, was performing work at 20201 Lowe Davis Road on Saturday morning when the deadly mishap occurred, parish sheriff’s spokesman Capt. George Bonnett said.

Schlenker was accompanied by his son at one point, but the son left to check on another job. When the son returned about 9:45 a.m., he discovered his father had been electrocuted and called 911, Bonnett said.

Deputies responded alongside personnel from Acadian Ambulance and parish Fire District No. 12. Schlenker was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation and was taken to the emergency room at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington, but he was pronounced dead there. Schlenker’s autopsy confirmed his death was the result of high voltage electrocution, and it was ruled as accidental, said Melanie Comeaux, the executive director for parish coroner Dr. Peter Galvan’s Office.

On Tuesday, Schlenker’s wife, Linda, said she was married to her husband for 43 years. The couple had three children — two daughters, now 40 and 35; and a son, 38.

Schlenker was born in Madisonville and lived on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain his entire life, his wife added. One of four siblings and a grandfather to three children, he was in the electric power industry for a half-century, most of which he spent running his own company, his family said.

Schlenker started Schlenker Electric in 1976 and incorporated it four years later, his wife noted. The company was based out of Schlenker’s home on Lowe Davis Road, just east of where he was fatally hurt.

“It’s like a nightmare,” Linda Schlenker remarked. “We’re devastated. This was so unexpected. … He’s been doing this for 50 years, and he’s always been very conscientious, very careful.”