NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - Officials have arrested a man they say is responsible for burning down the house of one of his relatives in New Roads.
John G. Roberts, 41, was arrested on charges of aggravated arson, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, and theft of a motor vehicle. The arrest warrant was served at the Pointe Coupee Parish Jail, where Roberts was already being held on the theft of a motor vehicle charge. His bond has been set at $42,000. Roberts could face up to 20 years in jail just on the aggravated arson charge and up to 12 years for the simple burglary charge.
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the fire that destroyed the home early Wednesday morning.
Officials say it happened on Main Street near West End Drive in New Roads around 5:30 a.m. They added no one was home at the time. The house is right next to the fire station, which was also damaged in the fire. A neighboring home was also damaged in the fire.
Firefighters with the Pointe Coupee Fire District No. 5 reported hearing two explosions. They added they hurried to the home and were able to keep the flames from spreading to any other structures.
Investigators from the fire marshal's office were called to the scene and have determined the fire was set intentionally.
The owner says the home was first built in 1907. "Feel terrible," said Raymond Garrett. "I can't believe someone would do something like that to my house."
"Investigators are out on scene and determined that it was, in fact, a suspicious fire," added Nicholas Heinen with the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal. "Shortly thereafter, a possible suspect was identified and was detained in Baton Rouge by Baton Rouge PD."
Main Street was closed as firefighters worked to get the blaze under control.