Firefighters arrested for Oakdale arson incidents

OBERLIN, LA (KPLC) - The State Fire Marshal announced on Wednesday numerous arrests in connection with nine arson fires in the community of Oakdale.

The fires began in April 2010, and all of them were determined by authorities to be suspicious.

A task force was formed and determined a pattern was involved which Fire Marshal Butch Browning said was "very disappointing and terrible."

Six adults have been charged in the arsons:

Christie Doyle, 18 - four counts of simple arson, and one count of conspiracy to commit arson.

Hannah Ware, 20 - simple arson, and conspiracy to commit arson.

Harold Elkins, Jr., 18 - aggravated arson, conspiracy to commit arson.

Jeremy Sheppard, 17 - simple arson

Michael Hill, 17 - simple arson, conspiracy to commit arson, and felony contributing to delinquency of a juvenile.

Of the suspects listed above all were active Oakdale volunteer firefighters - with the exception of Ware and Elkins who were past, inactive members of the volunteer fire team.

Four juveniles are also involved, and could be charged.

It is believed that their motive was one of personal glory. "There's no doubt that the motive with these fires was the need to be a hero, the desire for this fire to start and them to respond in their official capacity and extinguish these fires. Fortunately no one was injured," said Browning.

In his more than 40 years of service Oakdale Fire Chief Thomas Moore says he was speechless that some of his own crew are accused.

"It's a sad day for the Oakdale Fire Department," said Chief Moore.

Chief Moore hopes to restore the public's confidence with his department.

"We've got a good bunch of firemen still at the fire station. They'll be there when they are needed. We have something to overcome and will overcome it," said Chief Moore.

The six adults have been arrested and booked into the Allen Parish jail. Meanwhile the Allen Parish District Attorney's Office will decide on what charges the juveniles will face.

Also assisting in this investigation was the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office and Oakdale Police Department.

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