An Independence man is charged with arson in connection to a wildfire on Hano Road in St. Helena Parish, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry.
Forestry enforcement officers on July 25 arrested Steve Harrison, 55, who had several outstanding warrants through Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, LDAF said in a press release. Agents had been investigating a fire on Hano Road near Harrison's residence that became a wildlife that destroyed about nine acres of a pine plantation. Harrison had been found near his home when he was arrested and booked into the St. Helena Parish Jail on the simple arson charge.
“It is illegal to purposely set a fire. A person suspected of doing so will be charged even if no one got hurt and regardless of the damage resulting from the fire,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain. “Setting fire to property without the consent of the owner and any subsequent damage is something LDAF and our Forestry Enforcement agents take very seriously.”
LDAF agents were assisted by sheriff's offices in St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes during the investigation that began July 22.
LDAF reminds readers that everyone accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty.
The public is urged to report any and all forestry-related crimes to the LDAF 24-hr hotline at 1-855-452-5323.