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House fire suspected to be arson

A large fire in a residential area of Picayune consumed a house and is believed by neighbors to be the result of arson.

Picayune Fire Department responded to the call with full force, sucessfully extinguishing the flames and saving the rest of the houses in the area.

The house that caught fire has been abaondoned since Hurricane Katrina knocked out the power line, said next door neighbor Willie Dillard as he pointed to the coiled up line on the pole.

Some time before the fire took place, Rachel Courtney, a resident of the neighborhood, said she saw a male in kakhi shorts and a white shirt as she and her grandmother left to buy groceries. The individual was described as stocky and uncommon to the neighborhood, Courtney said.

“I’ve never seen the guy before,” Courtney said.

As Courtney and her grandmother were putting up their supplies from their shopping trip, Courtney said she saw flames across the street from her house. When she walked outside to get a better look she said she saw the flames boiling from indide the house.

Dillard said the house has had many renters and was last vacated after Katriina, so he tried to purchase the house from the owner.

“I have been waiting for that to happen for a long time,” Dilllard said because the house had been vacant for so long.

Dana Hennessee said that the house that caught fire is involved in dispute among multiple heirs and also sits on Dillard’s property line.

An investigation is underway by the PIcayune Fire Department to determine if arson was involved in the blaze.