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LA State Fire Marshal (SFM) deputies have arrested a 13-year old girl in connection with a fire at a vacant house in Leesville that occurred in August. The teen was arrested for one count of Simple Arson and was released into the custody of a guardian.

The OSFM reports around midday on August 23, 2020, the Leesville Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 700 block of Short Street. State Fire Marshal deputies were requested to assist with determining the origin and cause of the fire due to suspicious circumstances including the fact that the home had been vacant for several months. After an assessment of the scene and a collection of witness statements and evidence, the fire was left undetermined with the inability to rule out the possibility of it being intentionally set.

Through extensive investigative efforts over the past few months, deputies were able to identify the teen as a suspect in the case. In an interview with deputies, the girl admitted to having set the fire while in the home without permission. She was then placed under arrest.

The State Fire Marshal has a message for families with juveniles out of a regular school environment during this pandemic:

“This year has been tough on so many, but it’s been especially challenging for working parents with school-aged children being educated in different settings that may not always include in-person supervision by an adult,” said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, “We encourage parents and guardians to keep a close eye on kids’ activities and mental well-being as this public health emergency continues to prevent them from getting into mischief involving fire. But most importantly, we want adults to warn juveniles not only of the dangers of playing with fire, but the consequences of fire, including to property, their lives and the lives of others, as well as their futures.”

The SFM would also like to thank the community for their cooperation with this investigation and encourage others to submit anonymous tips to our agency if you have information about a fire-related crime in your area. The arson hotline is 1-844-954-1221 or tips can be submitted on our website lasfm.org.

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