The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal has arrested a man accused of setting fire to his ex-girlfriend’s house, her father’s truck and her parents’ house.
Officials say 37-year-old Austin Blake Ceaser has been booked with one count each of aggravated arson, simple arson, arson by injury and unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling along with three counts of criminal trespassing.
On March 9, just before Noon, the St. Landry Fire District 3 called upon the OSFM to assist in determining the origin and cause of a house fire in the 200 block of Frilot Cove Road in Opelousas. According to OSFM, the owner was not home at the time of the fire, but a neighbor told investigators she allegedly saw the owner’s ex-boyfriend, Ceaser, beating and trying to kick in the door just minutes before seeing the fire. Investigators reported heavy fire damage throughout the exterior of the home and heavy smoke damage on the interior.
A K-9 officer, K-9 Bono was injured by debris while searching the scene for evidence of accelerants, according to officials. The fire was determined to be incendiary and a warrant was issued for Ceaser’s arrest, but he could not be located.
On May 4, 2018, a vehicle fire was reported in the 200 block of L’Anse De Cavalier Road in Ville Platte. A Chevy pickup was allegedly set on fire. The rear of the vehicle was damaged and investigators classified the case as incendiary. The truck’s owner was the father of the March fire victim, who has lived at the Ville Platte home since her house was set on fire.
In this case, Ceaser was named as the suspect and a search for him continued.
On May 27, 2018, the Ville Platte Fire Department investigated a house fire at the same property in the 200 block of L’Anse De Cavalier Road.
The origin of the fire was determined to be just below a bedroom window A/C unit. According to reports, there were eight people in the home at the time of the fire. The female victim from the March fire was in that home and told investigators she was sleeping when she smelled gasoline coming through her window unit. When she got up to check out the source, she found a fire and put it out with a hose.
The victim told investigators when she went to call 911, she saw seven missed calls from a blocked number. The victim stated Ceaser has allegedly continued to harass her and her family since her house fire in March, despite her having an active protective order against him.
On Saturday, June 2, 2018, Ceaser turned himself in to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office accompanied by his attorney. He was transferred to the St. Landry Parish Jail Monday, June 4.