BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The man accused of setting a home on fire Sunday evening at the corner of Essen and Perkins is now behind bars, but it is the history of that house that has the children who grew up there nearly a century ago devastated.
Charles Oby, 65, was arrested Sunday night and charged with simple arson and criminal trespassing.
Oby told investigators he poured gasoline on a lit barbecue pit because he was trying to cook a steak on the porch of the vacant house. According to the report, he said "he couldn't keep the fire going so he kept dousing it with gasoline eventually setting the home on fire."
"[The] investigator was able to interview some witnesses, found out that there was a person who had been on premises several times and asked to leave by the owner several times," said BRFD spokesperson Curt Monte.
The home he is accused of setting on fire is a loss, but the people who grew up there are in disbelief.
"I was born in this house and I'm 90 years old," said Estelle Walker.
Walker said the house belonged to her late parents and had recently been vacant after her father built and moved in to a new home right next door. She said there were so many memories she and her seven siblings made.
"We used to come out this backdoor right here," said Walker. "I couldn't move. When they first called me and told me, I couldn't move. I had to just sit there."
Two of Walker's sisters also came to look at what's left.
"It hurts. It's like looking at a casket. It hurts," said Mathilda Livous.
"I couldn't imagine it would look like this. It's hard. Your parents worked so hard for this and somebody just come and burn it down. It's hard," said Dorothy Coleman.
All three remember living at the home when Perkins Road and Essen Lane did not exist. Back then, their father owned all the property and they farmed on it.
Oby grew up with their children and they know him well.
Meanwhile, there is not much left to salvage, but even through the wicked flames that took nearly an hour to get under control, there was a Bible. The sisters said it is a sign from their father, who was a minister.
"He want to let us know don't forget Him, don't forget the word & that's one thing I won't forget," said Livous.
The heat from the fire did cause some damage to the roof and ceiling next door at the Burger King. There's also a heavy smoke smell inside the business. That was why the managers said they are temporarily closed and will remain closed at least until Wednesday.
The sisters said they will get what's left of the charred house torn down and then put the property up for sale.