Pitkin woman accused of causing HWY 113 fire
RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - A woman from Pitkin has been accused of causing the fire that occurred on Louisiana Highway 113 in Rapides Parish that spread into Vernon Parish.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Enforcement Division arrested Laura McLaughlin, 49, on September 22.
On August 24, LDAF fire crews and the Plainview Fire Department responded to multiple wildfires set in the Union Hill area in Rapides Parish. Arson was suspected to be the cause. The fires consumed over 7,000 acres of timber and one residence. The fires raged for several days and continue to be monitored. The total value of the timber burned is estimated to be over 2 million dollars. The suppression cost associated with these fires is estimated at 2.7 million dollars.
McLaughlin was booked in the Rapides Parish Jail on four counts of simple arson and one count of obstruction of justice. Bond was set at $25,000.
The crime of simple arson, where the damage amounts to five hundred dollars or more, carries a fine of not more than $15,000 and imprisonment at hard labor for not more than 15 years. Where the damage is less than $500, the offender shall be fined no more than $2,500 or imprisoned with or without hard labor for no more than five years or both.
All persons accused of crimes are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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