St. Landry

Oct 3, 2013 7:42 PM by Alex Labat

Possible Arson Has Opelousas Family Wanting Answers

An early morning fire in St. Landry Parish has one family out of their home, and arson could be to blame.
It all started around 1 a.m. this morning on Garland Street in Opelousas.
That's when police say someone set fire to Dontae Sonnier's vehicle.
That fire spread to the Sonnier's home as well as a neighbors.
It was a car alarm that awoke 7 year-old Rontasia Sonnier early Thursday morning, an alarm that would save her life as well as the other four people in her home.
"When I was sleeping my daddy's house was on fire, and I went to go wake them up but it was hard to wake them up because all the smoke was in the room", says Rontasia.
Her mother Ongelle Arvie says, "It's hard to see that the kids made it out here and then to look on my porch and see that my son was stuck there, and that he couldn't move and his shoes are still there. His sister had to pull him out and I was still stuck in the house and my boyfriend had to come back in and get me."
As family and friends look at what remains of the Sonnier's home, there's a mixture of gratitude and anger. They're thankful no one was injured, as Dontae Sonnier says, "I'm blessed. That's the main thing that I was hoping that all my kids and my family got out alive."
They're also angry that they're certain they know who started the fire.
"Anytime somebody disregards the life of the babies, they don't need to be on these streets", says Melvin Richard, Dontae's step-father.
Sergeant Jody White with the Opelousas Police Department says they too have a person of interest.
"We do have the Opelousas Police Department investigating the incident in reference to a person of interest that we are looking for that could be connected to the arson", says White.
The family is accepting donations for children's clothing as well as other necessities.

Sizes needed are:
24 months for a baby boy
7/8 for a young girl
4/5 for the 4 year-old boy

Donations can be dropped off at South Side Caregivers in Opelousas at 303 South Street in Opelousas.

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