Firefighter Arrested; Accused of Arson

A Bienville parish volunteer firefighter is in jail charged with simple arson.

Twenty-one year old Christopher Long was arrested early Saturday morning, the day a fire  barely damaged an abandoned mobile home in the parish.

Investigators say it was Long who called it in, and it was that call which drew suspicion.

"He just told me he needed to see me.  He had a fire that he believed was out and he believed it was 'our boy'," says Fire Chief Bobby Conly.  Conly and his fellow firefighters, most of whom are volunteer, started referring to the suspected arsonist as, "our boy."

Suspicious about "our boy" first arose February twelfth, when firefighters responded to a blaze in Ringgold.  There were twenty-four grass or brush firse that followed.  Sources say Long, a relative newcomer to Bievnille Parish, never needed directions, which immediately drew suspicion.  Investigators say he always seemed to show up at most every fire; sometimes he was first on scene.

Authorities say Long was a hard worker, and a nice guy.  They hope his arrest doesn't cast a dark shadow on the other men and women who donate their time to fight fires in small communities.