Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said he believes five fires in the small town of White Castle are the result of arson and an investigation by his office is underway.
He said no injuries and no deaths have resulted from the alleged arsons. Browning said only one of the buildings involved was occupied at the time of the fire and the resident escaped injury because a smoke detector at her home alerted her to the danger.
The first blaze believed to be part of the arson trail is a vehicle fire on La. 405 on Feb. 5, reported to 911 at 5:07 a.m., thea cluster of them beginning near the end of July. The most recent was just last Friday, Aug. 24.
“The first incident involved in the interior of an old car that had not moved for several months,” the fire marshal said. “It resulted in minor damage and has been determined to be incendiary.”
The latest was a structure fire at the same address as the February fire, Browning said, and the one that began the string of five was on Point Street, a structure and vehicle fire on July 21 at 3:35 a.m.
About 10 days later, a third suspected arson was reported at 3:38 a.m. at an address down the street from the Feb. 5 fire suspected to be arson and – in what appears to be a pattern, Browning said – another fire was just down the street from the second incident on Aug. 19 on Point Street, reported at 2:54 p.m.
Since two different addresses are involved in four of the suspected arsons, Browning said, “this is a two-part case. The structure in one incident was a garage or shed while the other was a vehicle at the same address.”
The two houses in question in the two-part investigation are “all related family,” according to the Fire Marshal’s Office.
Last Friday’s incident was a trailer fire that resulted in minor damage, Browning said.
“It was occupied at the time of the fire by a woman and her five children,” he continued. “The area of origin here was determined to be underneath the master bedroom.”