Charges against a volunteer firefighter were upgraded in Richland Parish today; state investigators accuse him of setting his house on fire to kill his wife.
His wife, who has a medical disability, survived the fire but was seriously injured. Her service dog was killed in the fire.
Kenneth Fulford, 53, remains in jail in lieu of $350,000 bond. He now has been booked with attempted first-degree murder, three counts aggravated arson, aggravated cruelty to animals, aggravated cruelty to persons with infirmities and one count arson with intent to defraud.
Fulford originally had been booked with Aggravated Arson, one count of Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Persons with Infirmities in connection with a Monday fire at his Delhi home.
Investigators now say Fulford has admitted to setting the fire at his home to “end his wife’s suffering,” believing she would be unable to escape on her own. As a result, they upgraded the attempted second-degree murder charge to an attempted first-degree murder charge. Because Fulford also allegedly admitted to setting the house on fire twice before, two additional counts of aggravated arson were added. Investigators say a count of arson with intent to defraud has been added, because Fulford allegedly admitted he burned a truck back in 2016 when he tired of paying the note.
Fulford’s wife is medically disabled and had already taken her nightly medication, which leaves her drowsy and disoriented, when Fulford set the fire, investigators allege.
State Fire Marshal investigators were called to assist with determining the cause and origin of the fire early Monday morning, April 16. Investigators located the origin as a bedroom closet on the northern end of the trailer home.
Fulford, who is a volunteer firefighter with Richland Parish Ward 1 Fire Department, called the fire in through his department radio. He told investigators he discovered a bedroom on fire after his wife commented she smelled smoke.
Fulford’s wife, who has a medical disability, received third degree burns on her back when trying to escape the fire. She told investigators Fulford remained outside of the burning home after discovering the fire and only verbally assisted her exit from the home. Mrs. Fulford’s service dog did not make it out of the home and died in the fire.