2 arrested after setting Washington Parish jail fire, sheriff says

2 arrested after setting Washington Parish jail fire, sheriff says
Levi Lee and Medel Morales-Guzman are accused of setting fire to the Washington Parish jail. (Source: WPSO)

WASHINGTON PARISH, La. (WVUE) - Two inmates of the Washington Parish Jail have been re-booked into the facility for setting a fire at the jail that led to the evacuation of dozens of other inmates and staff members, according to the state fire marshal.

Levi Lee, 18, and Medel Morales-Guzman, 32, are each facing one count of Aggravated Arson and one count of Fire-raising in a Correctional Facility.

Each was already facing other criminal charges. Lee is awaiting trial for First Degree Murder, Attempted First Degree Murder, and two counts of Armed Robbery. Morales-Guzman is awaiting trial for Sexual Battery.

Just before midnight on July 21, jail staff noticed smoke inside one of the facility’s cell blocks. While the Franklinton Fire Department worked to locate and suppress the source of the smoke, the cell block’s 34 occupants were evacuated. Additional areas were later evacuated as smoke spread.

There were almost 175 occupants inside the entire jail facility at the time of the fire.

After an assessment of the scene, investigators were able to narrow down the origin of the fire to the cell block’s air conditioning unit, according to officers.

Through further investigative efforts in collaboration with Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives, which included obtaining surveillance video evidence, it was determined the fire inside of the A/C unit was intentionally set by the two inmates, Lee and Morales-Guzman.

Both were re-booked into the jail on the new charges on Thursday (July 25).

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