Firefighter Charged with Arson for Iowa, LA, Fire Station

March 16, 2024
Iowa's fire chief said the station was engulfed in flames when they arrived and officials arrested an 18-year-old firefighter hours later.

A firefighter from the Iowa Volunteer Fire Department was arrested hours after flames gutted his fire station.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office said Jamison Smith was charged with simple arson in connection Friday morning's fire.

“It was heartbreaking a fire chief never wants to see their fire station whether it was functional or not go up in flames,” Fire Chief Charlotte Lantier told KPLC.

Officials said Smith, 18, was one of the firefighters who responded to the fire.

He was a part-time firefighter in Iowa, after serving as a volunteer with the department for a year.

“Following an assessment of the scene and evidence collection, deputies determined the fire was intentionally set. They quickly identified Smith," a statement from the State Fire Marshal’s Office read.

They did not say what led them to arrest smith.

Lantier said the station was no longer the community's main station after it was sustained serious damage during Hurricane Laura in 2020. It was used to store equipment, and a reserve fire apparatus, which was gutted in the fire.

“The station is totally demolished there’s not salvaging anything, in the bay we were able to take some equipment out of it. The truck in the bay is completely gone we’re trying to salvage some of the equipment off of it,” she said.

She said they just received their insurance payment from the hurrican damage and planned to rebuild the station.

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