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Fire chief speaks out for first time after wife's mysterious death as Coroner rules it a homicide

ST. TAMMANY- Steve Krentel says his world turned upside down nine weeks ago Friday when he learned about a devastating fire at his own home in Lacombe.

The Covington-area fire chief showed up to a house practically burned to the ground, with his wife of 22 years, Nanette Krentel, located by firefighters inside with their pets.

"I really believed it was her chasing the dog around trying to get out of the home. I really thought that's what happened," he said "And the day of the funeral is when I found out she actually had a gunshot wound."

Since then, Krentel says he has given everything asked, including countless interviews and a polygraph test, to the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshal's Office, without being given any information about the case in return.

That was until Wednesday, when the Coroner's Office ruled that Nanette was murdered by a gunshot wound to the head, with no soot in her airway.

"The Coroner's Office decision is at least a decision and moving in the right direction to some sort of an answer," he said, "And that is all I care about at this time. Is to get an answer. An accurate, true answer."

Though he has personally been critiqued throughout the ordeal, Krentel says he's been treated fairly by all agencies and support from friends and the community has helped him get through each day.

And despite the Sheriff's Office saying its investigation, at this time, "does not necessarily support the Coroner's conclusion in this case," Krentel says he will keep pushing for more answers and justice to be served for Nanette.

"I believe in time that they will figure out who did this because I don't believe people can be quiet forever," he said.

The Sheriff's Office and Fire Marshal's offices are expected to reveal more about their cases in a press conference Thursday morning.

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