Fire officials say all the signs point to a serial arsonist. Eight vacant houses in the Hub City have been set ablaze over the past eight days.
“It appears that way, based on the fact that the majority of these fires have been in abandoned homes and every one of them has been set in a particular pattern with a specific style of accelerates,” says Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit.
Chief Benoit says they don’t have any persons of interest, yet, which poses a problem for tying all eight fires together.
“Someone or several people may be starting fires. We haven’t classified whether it’s one person or more than one person. We’ve classified those eight fires as arson, but you also have some other fires as well,” says Benoit.
Fires at vacant houses are nothing new. In fact, records indicate there was a fire involving a vacant house as early as June 3rd.
Other records indicate that other fires have taken place at vacant houses as far back as February.
One official we spoke with in the parish Public Works Department, who oversees blighted properties, told us he’s seen a number of vacant houses lost to fire over the past couple years. He says particularly he’s seen houses burn down in the area of Lafayette between the 8100 block of Congress and Simcoe streets. But, nothing approaching the frequency we’ve seen this week.