Opelousas police arrest man for starting fires that destroyed 2 nightclubs

OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – A man is behind bars in connection with two nightclub fires in St. Landry Parish.

Police have arrested William Kevin Rideau, 33, of Opelousas, on two counts of simple arson and two counts of criminal trespassing.

Authorities say Rideau is accused of burning down the Miller’s Zydeco Hall of Fame in St. Landry Parish and the Charcoal Lounge in Opelousas.

Just a block down the road from the Charcoal Lounge is another club called Winner’s Lounge.

Officials say Rideau is involved with the club’s operations and say he may be setting the other clubs on fire to possibly eliminate the competition.

“He was arrested at his home by my investigators along with the state fire marshal’s investigator to make the arrest,” Opelousas Police Chief Donald Thompson told News 10.

Opelousas Fire Chief Charles Mason said Rideau was arrested on “two counts of simple arson and two counts of criminal trespass.”

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office says Rideau’s family owns the nightclub Winner’s Lounge in Opelousas.

Investigators say the Winner’s Lounge was preparing for a big weekend for business.

But just down the road, officials say Rideau set fire to the Charcoal Lounge last week.

Fire Chief Charles Mason calls it a significant loss. “It’s not open for business at this time. It was destroyed by a lot of water damage, heat damage. But the apartments upstairs the roof is all damaged.”

And two weeks ago, officials also say Rideau set fire to Miller’s Zydeco Hall of Fame, destroying the building.

Police Chief Donald Thompson says the investigation is still ongoing, with city police, city fire and state fire marshal’s office on the case.

“Keeping the city of Opelousas safe as well as St Landry Parish but there’s a whole big team effort with the conjunction and the connection of all agencies working together,” Thompson said.

Investigators with the state fire marshal’s office believe additional arrests will be made in this case.

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