Six Arrested For Oakdale Arsons – 3 Firefighters Involved
Oakdale, LA – A month-long investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office into a string of recent fires in Oakdale has resulted in the arrest of six individuals, three of which were Allen Parish volunteer firefighters.
In response to a rash of residential and commercial structure fires in Oakdale this year,State Fire Marshal investigators, with the full cooperation of Oakdale city officials, met individually with members of the fire department to discuss the fires and to provide instruction on how fire scenes should be handled, should there be additional fires.
Several firefighters identified an Oakdale volunteer firefighter as a person of interest in a number of the blazes.
After examining several months of fire department response logs,it was established that the firefighter in question, Johnny West, 21, from Oakdale, was often the first to respond when a fire dispatch was initiated.
Afterward, investigators contacted and interviewed West, who denied any knowledge or involvement regarding the incidents. Other interviews resulted in obtaining the names of five others who, with West, were implicated in three fires.
Of the six individuals charged, three served as volunteer firefighters with both the Oakdale and Allen Parish District 6 Fire Departments. Five of the six individuals charged ultimately confessed to their respective roles in setting the fires, while one refused to speak to investigators. No clear motive was established.
Other suspicious fires in Oakdale remain under investigation and additional arrests are possible.
The individuals charged are:
- Darryl Edward Blount; 18; Oakdale, LA Simple Arson (1 count); Criminal Conspiracy (1 count)
- Thomas Lenox Gilbert (firefighter); 18; Elizabeth, LA Simple Arson (3 counts) Criminal Conspiracy (3 counts); Simple Burglary (1count)
- Bobby Wayne Murray (firefighter); 17; Oakdale, LA Simple Arson (3 counts);Criminal Conspiracy (3 counts); Simple Burglary (1count)
- Kenneth Jamal Sweet; 25; Oakdale, LA Simple Arson (2 counts) Criminal Conspiracy (2 counts); Simple Burglary (1count)
- Jeremy West; 20; Oakdale, LA Simple Arson (3 counts) Criminal Conspiracy (3 counts); Simple Burglary (1count)
- Johnny West (firefighter); 21; Oakdale, LA Simple Arson (3 counts) Criminal Conspiracy (3 counts); Simple Burglary (1count)
The State Fire Marshal’s Office was assisted in the investigation by the Allen ParishSheriff’s Office.