POSTED: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 3:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 3:34pm
COVINGTON, LA (NBC33) — Two men have been arrested for allegedly starting a blaze that injured a firefighter. We’re told cell phone video connected the duo to the crime scene.
The State Fire Marshall’s Office reports that Michael Ellis Mathieu, 21, and Corey D. Eshleman, 24, were both arrested on Friday, Feb. 8. The two are accused of starting a fire at Mathieu’s former home on January 14, 2013.
Firefighters responded to the home on N. Lee Road in Covington after witnesses reported seeing smoke and flames. It took 14 firefighters and a 5,000-gallon water truck to extinguish the fire. We’re told a firefighter was injured, but the extent of his injuries was not explained.
Investigators quickly determined that the fire was intentionally set. A week later investigators from the Sheriff’s Office began looking into an unrelated crime. They discovered a cell phone that belonged to one of the suspects, and it contained video that showed the two driving by the fire and discussing how they had started it.
"Unfortunately, arson is a far more common crime than people realize, driving up insurance costs and endangering many lives,” said FD12 Chief Darrell Guilott. “We will continue to vigorously investigate suspicious fires and work with the Fire Marshal and local law enforcement to bring the full weight of justice on those who commit such crimes. Collaborative efforts such as in this case should send that message loud and clear."
Both Mathieu and Eshleman were arrested and charged with Simple Arson and Injury by Arson.