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Tip leads to swift arrest in Church Point fire investigation

Lafayette man charged with Arson
Charles Richard.jpg
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UPDATE (5:40 p.m.): The State Fire Marshal's Office has made an arrest in connection with several intentionally-set fires set within blocks of one another in Church Point.

67-year-old Charles Richard of Lafayette was arrested Saturday on one count of Aggravated Arson and three counts of Simple Arson.

After a request to social media and local media, a tip led deputies to locate Richard at an apartment complex in Lafayette. In an interview with deputies, Richard confessed to setting all four fires in a fit of rage over a recent falling-out with an ex-girlfriend, who owned the house he set on fire first, deputies say.

SFM is applauding the quick response by the public and thanks the Church Point Fire and Police Departments for their partnership in solving this case so swiftly.

Starting around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, March 20, the Church Point Fire Department responded to a call for a house fire in the 200 block of East Canal Street. The home was unoccupied at the time of the fire and suffered the most damage in the carport area. Minutes later, firefighters were called to a mattress on fire in the 500 block of North Main Street. Around 4:45 a.m., Church Point FD responded to a fire at a business in the 300 block of N Main Street. Damage to Spanky's Small Engine and Mower Sales, owned by the town's mayor, was limited to the back exterior of the building. Minutes after that call, firefighters responded to a dumpster fire behind a business also in the 300 block of N Main Street.

Fire Marshals were contacted to investigate the fires due to their suspicious circumstances, according to SFM Spokesperson Ashley Rodrigue. There were no injuries reported with any of the fires.

Deputies obtained video evidence from at least two of the fires and assessed the scenes. It was determined that all of the fires were intentionally set.

All photos courtesy State Fire Marshal's Office