Arson suspected in Westlake fire

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - At around 11PM the Westlake Fire Department received word of a house completely engulfed in flames.

"We received an alarm of a structure fire at this residence. When we pulled up it was completely involved. The roof was starting to cave in and it gave us a fight," said Chief Picou with the Westlake Fire Department.

Juan Alanis and seven other family members lived at this residence. He said, when he realized his house was on fire he did not have long to react.

"I went in the house and hollered at my wife and kids to come on out, because the house was on fire. My wife went and got the kids. If we would have waited another five minutes we would have went with the house. It happened that fast," said Juan Alanis.

Despite the efforts of firefighters working to put out the flames, the house is believed to be a total loss.

"They did good to get out and call 911. Apparently, it was already rolling above their heads before they knew it. They got out just in time," said Chief Picou.

After a while, firefighters were able to put the flames out, but due the severity of the fire, there was no time for Juan and his family to try and save anything.

"We lost everything. The only thing that I have is my clothes and some shoes that I borrowed from my son. Everything is gone," said Juan Alanis.

And, while the family has lost everything in the fire, they said they are happy to still have each other. A fund for the family has been set up at Chase Bank.

The State Fire Marshal is now investigating the fire as a possible case of arson, anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-256-5452.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)