BATON ROUGE, LA — A former volunteer firefighter is charged with four counts of simple arson in connection with fires that investigators say were intentionally set in a wooded area just south of DeRidder in 2012 and 2013.
Brandon Harris, 26, of Longville, La., was arrested Tuesday, February 4, by the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office following a month long investigation by the Beauregard Parish District Attorney’s Office and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) enforcement agents.
Investigators say Harris admitted that while working as a volunteer firefighter with the Beauregard Parish District 2 Broad Land Substation, he set four wildfires in the area just south of Deridder for the purpose of receiving money for fire call outs and for the thrill of fighting fires.
LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said, “It is extremely discouraging when someone who is supposed to be protecting lives and property, now stands accused of doing the unthinkable. I want to take this opportunity to thank the many firefighters who do the right thing and who truly work to protect us.”
A total of 17 acres of land was reportedly damaged by the fires. Investigators say an estimated $12,500.00 worth of timber was also damaged.
Harris was booked into the Beauregard Parish Jail. His bond is set at $60,000.00.