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23 Nov 2013

http://www.fox8live.com/story/24042103/historic-lebeau-plantation-burns-to-the-ground-in-old-arabi

7 arrested after fire destroys LeBeau Plantation

Updated: Nov 22, 2013 5:15 PM PST

FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

ARABI, La. - Seven people have been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed the LeBeau Plantation house in St. Bernard Parish.

Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann said the suspects are believed to have been smoking marijuana and drinking in the vacant house when the fire broke out at about 2 a.m. Friday. St. Bernard Parish Fire Chief Thomas Stone said the building was fully engulfed in flames when he arrived on the scene.

Arrested are: Dusten Davenport, 31, of Fort Worth, Texas, booked with arson, simple burglary and criminal damage over $50,000; Joshua Briscoe, 20, of Grand Prairie, Texas, booked with arson, simple burglary and criminal damage over $50,000; Joseph Landin, 20, of Grand Prairie, Texas, booked with arson, simple burglary and criminal damage over $50,000; Jerry Hamblen, 17, booked with arson, simple burglary and criminal damage over $50,000; Joshua Allen, 21, of Grand Prairie, Texas, booked with arson, simple burglary and criminal damage over $50,000; Kevin Barbe, 20, of Arabi, booked with accessory to arson and criminal trespassing; and Bryon Meek, 29, of Gretna, booked with accessory to arson.

St. Bernard Sheriff's Office Col. John Duran said the men were apparently looking for ghosts at the mansion, which has long been the subject of ghost stories in St. Bernard.

"This is a devastating loss to the community," Stone said. "It's a fire chief's worst nightmare."

Stone grew up near the area. He said the property has been vacant for years.  Only four chimneys were left standing once firefighters got the flames under control.  Collapse zones were set up around the structure to keep responders safe.

No injuries were reported. 

The Lebeau Plantation was built in the 1850s.  It was once a hotel and was being considered for renovation.  The Sugar Festival was held there each fall.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.



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