La. State Fire Marshal: First-grader admits to setting church fire

La. State Fire Marshal: First-grader admits to setting church fire
(Source: Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office)

CADDO PARISH (KSLA) - The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office has ended an investigation into the cause of a fire at a Vivian church over the weekend.

The cause? A seven-year-old.

The fire happened just before 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25 at the Church of Christ in the 500 block of Christian Avenue.

The building's vestibule was heavily damaged by fire, firefighters got the State Fire Marshal to help investigate the origin and cause of the fire.

Crews were able to determine the fire was intentionally set. The fire started hours after the church's front door was found shattered from a thrown rock.

After hearing from residents near the church, investigators interviewed the seven-year-old in the presence of a guardian.

The first-grader admitted to breaking the window the day before, and also setting the fire with a lighter he found in the parking lot.

Using cardboard that was blocking the window he lit that on fire in the church. He also admitted to lighting a roll of toilet paper on fire in a bathroom before leaving.

“It is certainly disappointing to see a child, especially of this age, engaging in such dangerous and concerning behaviors,” said State Fire Marshal Chief Butch Browning, in a news release. “We encourage parents and guardians to keep a close eye on kids and warn them not only of the dangers of playing with fire, but the consequences of fire, including to property, their lives and the lives of others, as well as their futures.”

The child could not give investigators a reason why he did it — but said "he had no feelings of ill-will or issues with the church or its congregants," according to a news release.

Due to the child’s age, no arrest was made. The boy’s guardian committed to having the family work with the church on its recovery.

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