Jun 20, 2014 12:08 AM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Lafayette Fire Dept. Says Similarities In Recent Arsons

One after the other, the tally is now at seven arsons in the Hub City in the last week.

The Lafayette Fire Department is reporting there are similarities among these fires. All have been in the downtown Lafayette area, and most have been near the Evangeline Thruway. The most recent fire happened early Thursday morning on North Pierce Street.

The fires have all happened in the same time-frame, between midnight and five in the morning. Fire officials said the same sort of chemicals were used to start all seven blazes. However they said there's no specific pattern for where the fires are set, which has some residents living next to abandoned properties on high alert.

Peggy Felix was fast asleep when fire-fighters banged on the door early Thursday morning, alerting her about the blaze next door.

"Walking with my cane, I can't walk very fast. So I was scared," said Lafayette resident Peggy Felix, who lives on Pierce Street.

Felix made it out safe and sound, but she's concerned that arson could strike again.

"It can happen. I'm very concerned, because next time it could be happening, could catch on fire, the house next door could catch on fire, you never know," Felix said.

That's why downtown Lafayette resident Victoria Broussard is also worried. She lives next to two vacant homes.

"There's two right on my street, one right next door to my house and one two doors down. I mean, these are all wooden houses. If a fire starts, it's really easy for it to spread. It's really scary," said Victoria Broussard.

The Lafayette Fire Department is investigating, but said it can't confirm if there's a serial arsonist on the loose.

"Could have been set by a group of people, could have been set for various reasons. It could be someone who is mentally ill that be classified as a pyromaniac, or it could be a set of individuals setting fires for a revenge type situation, you name it," said Lafayette Fire Department Chief Robert Benoit.

"They're working hard on it, it seems, which is good because we want it over with as soon as possible," Broussard said.

Fire Chief Benoit said one of the main ways to determine if there's a serial arsonist in Lafayette is to have a suspect, and someone they can question to find out who else might be involved.



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