Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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TANGIPAHOA PARISH – Over the past seven months, the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) alongside the Hammond Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau has arrested nine people in seven arson cases, two of which are connected and have elevated to a federal level.
This increase in case closures by arrest is a testament to new efforts under State Fire Marshal Chief Dan Wallis’ leadership to strengthen our agency’s investigative efforts with our state’s fire service agencies, but especially our fire prevention bureau partners.
“This is exceptional work that I am very proud of,” said State Fire Marshal Chief Dan Wallis, “I want to thank the Hammond Fire Department for its commitment to the community’s safety.”
The cases include house fires, a vehicle fire and a business fire dating between August 2022 and January 2023. Two of those house fires, located on Camp Street and Washington Avenue, involve the same suspects who are believed to be involved in an insurance fraud operation including several more fires in and out of the state. This case is now being investigated by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Another notable case includes the Christmas Eve fire inside the Hammond Walmart store. Thanks to the quick work of this team of investigators, and help from the public and local media, the suspect was identified swiftly and taken into custody within days of the incident.
“I am proud of our team, not only in the Hammond Fire Prevention Bureau but the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office, along with the other agencies that support our efforts,” said Hammond Fire Chief Daniel Folks, “A collaborative effort between these agencies has produced great results and I look forward to the continued success of them. The citizens of Hammond and surrounding areas are lucky to have such a dedicated group that enjoys working together.”
“I want this success story to remind all Louisiana fire departments and districts that the SFM is here to help them show potential criminals that there is not only no tolerance for arson, but that there is a strong team at the ready that is very successful in cracking down on those that commit arson crimes,” said Wallis.
Additional partners that we are grateful to have worked with in these cases include the Hammond Police Department, Ponchatoula Police Department and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The SFM accepts anonymous tips on fire cases in two ways—online at lasfm.org or through our Arson Hotline 1-844-954-1221.