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SFM: 7-year-old responsible for church fire in Caddo Parish

Posted at 2:09 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 15:09:53-04

The Sate Fire Marshal's Office says the a child is responsible for a fire at a church in Vivian over the weekend.

The SFM Office concluded its investigation into the fire on Sunday August 25, determining a 7-year-old is responsible. Investigators say that just before 1:30 p.m. Caddo Fire District 8 received a fire call to the Church of Christ located in the 500 block of Christian Avenue.

Significant fire damage was discovered in and around the building’s vestibule and after an assessment of the scene, investigators say the fire was intentionally set.

Deputies learned the fire came hours after the church’s front door was discovered shattered from a thrown rock. Witness statements and evidence allegedly led investigators to identify a 7-year-old boy, who lived near the church, as a suspect in the case. The child was located and interviewed.

The 7-year-old allegedly admitted to not only breaking the window the evening before, but also to setting the fire. Investigators say the child told them he found a lighter in the parking lot when he was riding his hover board in the area. The boy told investigators that he allegedly pulled down the cardboard that was temporarily securing the damaged front doors, took a piece of the cardboard inside and lit it on fire. He also admitted to lighting a roll of toilet paper on fire in a bathroom before leaving.

The State Fire Marshal's Office says the child could not give investigators a reason for any of his behavior, but said he had no feelings of ill-will or issues with the church or its congregants.

Due to the child's age, no arrest was made. However, the boy’s guardian told investigators that they are committed to having the family work with the church on their recovery.