CALCASIEU PARISH, La. (State Fire Marshal) - Following a thorough investigation, the State Fire Marshal’s Office arrested James “Clay” Barrett, a corporal in the Lake Charles area, for eight counts of first degree injuring public records as well as three counts of malfeasance in office.
Barrett resigned his position with the agency upon his arrest.
The investigation into Barrett began in November when a supervisor’s routine review of Barrett’s fire investigation case files revealed inconsistencies. It was later learned Barrett had taken steps to cover up incomplete and/or incorrect investigative work in two of his fire cases. As a result, fire investigation cases with Barrett’s involvement are being reevaluated for any similar inconsistencies.
“To be a State Fire Marshal deputy is more than just a job; it’s a commitment to public safety and abating arson with integrity and pride,” said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning. “These allegations against Clay Barrett are disgraceful. They should not diminish the upstanding reputation of the dozens of deputies who represent this agency day in and day out with good, honorable work for the people of Louisiana. They also should not discredit the quality of the hundreds of fire investigations the agency conducts throughout each year. We will not tolerate anything less than the utmost professionalism from our agency and its employees.”
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