Community rallies around fire chief who lost wife in fire

Community rallies around fire chief who lost wife in fire
Nanette Krentel (Family Photo)
Nanette Krentel (Family Photo)
FOX 8 Photo
FOX 8 Photo

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - The North Shore community is rallying around a Covington-area fire chief who lost his wife in a fire Friday.

Nanette Krentel is being remembered as a kind and generous person, as investigators try and figure out what happened.

The flag was flying at half staff Monday outside Fire District 12 headquarters.

"Nan was wonderful, compassionate, sweet and caring," said friend Erica Boogaerts.

Fire officials said Krentel, a retired schoolteacher, died inside the home the couple built for them selves off Highway 434 north of Lacombe.

"It's rough right now. The family is taking a hard hit. She was part of our extended family," said District 12 fire prevention officer Kris Hines.

The fire was outside of Fire District 12 Krentel's husband, Steve, serves as fire chief, but that district was among the many that responded.

"I can't imagine it, fathom it or put it into words,' said Boogaerts.

Krentel's  beloved dog and two cats also perished in the fire. Her body was reportedly found near the couple's bedroom.

The investigation is being handled by the State Fire Marsha, which has had investigators on the scene for much of the weekend.

"Once they took over the investigation it was theirs. We're in a sit and wait standpoint," said Hines.

The tight-knit St Tammany fire-fighting community is now rallying around a chief who has lost everything. Collection boxes are in place outside District 12 headquarters, and friends have opened a PayPal account.

"I think the immediate need is financial to replace clothing. He'll need a suit," said Boogaerts.

The St. Tammany coroner is awaiting DNA results before making a positive identification. They will also perform an autopsy.

The cause of the fire has not been released.

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