HAMMOND, La. (WAFB) - Authorities with the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (LAOSFM) say they’ve arrested a man for setting fire to a Hammond church’s donation building. The man is also accused of spitting on a deputy during his arrest, officials say.
Investigators say Steve Oalmann, 44, of Hammond, was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on one count each of simple arson, simple assault, and resisting an officer.
Ashley Rodrigue, a spokesperson for LAOSFM, says firefighters with the Hammond Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the early morning hours of Friday, June 26 in the 200 block of North Carter Street.
The building that was on fire was owned by a Hammond church and was used to store and distribute donated items to community members in need, Rodrigue says.
Rodrigue says crews contacted the State Fire Marshal’s Office to request assistance with the fire investigation after finding damage in the bathroom of the building.
LAOSFM deputies say they determined that the fire originated in a plastic trash can in the bathroom and was intentionally set.
Rodrigue says deputies then obtained evidence, including surveillance video that identified Oalmann as a suspect in the case. Olamann lived in a neighboring apartment complex, investigators say.
LAOSFM deputies say they located Oalmann with the assistance of the Hammond Police and Fire Departments.
Rodrigue says when deputies went to arrest Oalmann he attempted to escape “by pushing the arresting deputy and spitting on him.”
Oalmann exhibited signs of a medical emergency while being transported to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail and was taken to an area hospital for evaluation, according to Rodrigue.
Oalmann was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail after he was released from the hospital.
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