Ex-employee accused of starting fire

Revelea Jacks Lamartiniere
Revelea Jacks Lamartiniere

Baton Rouge fire investigators have arrested a bookkeeper accused of setting fire to a local business the evening before she was to be questioned in an embezzlement investigation, authorities said.

Revelea Jacks Lamartiniere, 51, 1735 N. Sherwood Forest Drive, was booked Monday on one count of simple arson, Parish Prison records show.

The fire happened about 6:30 p.m. Jan. 1 at Fabrication Technologies Inc., a business on Darryl Drive that fabricates oil field pipe, according to a warrant. Robert Combs, a Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman, said four engines and one ladder truck responded to the blaze and had it under control about 25 minutes later.

The company’s owner, Kelly Frederick, said he had filed a complaint with the police against Lamartiniere over $6,400 that he said is missing from his business.

The blaze, which immediately spawned an arson investigation, was contained to the office, Combs said, though the warehouse portion of the building received some smoke damage. Frederick estimated the fire caused about $180,000 in damage.

After reviewing surveillance footage of a person setting fire to the building, fire investigators spoke with an unidentified friend of Lamartiniere, who recognized her gait and physical features, according to the warrant.

Lamartiniere told fire investigators she had passed by Darryl Drive about the time of the fire on her way from her home to a Jack in the Box off Greenwell Springs Road, the warrant says.

Surveillance video at the restaurant showed Lamartiniere arrived at the restaurant — located 2 miles north of Fabrication Technologies — several minutes after the blaze began, the warrant says.

Lamartiniere worked as a secretary and bookkeeper for Fabrication Technologies between Aug. 16 and Oct. 31, the warrant says. Frederick became aware of several checks totaling about $6,400 that had been written to Lamartiniere during her employment, the warrant says.

Lamartiniere knew she was being investigated for forgery, the warrant says, and she was scheduled to meet with Baton Rouge Police Department detectives the day after the fire.

Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman, said Tuesday the forgery and embezzlement case remains under investigation.