Arsonist burns Mission Drive house

An arsonist set fire on Sunday morning to a vacant house on Mission Drive where a man was found shot to death more than a month ago, the Baton Rouge Fire Department said.

So far, investigators have found no link between the two, Fire Department spokesman Curt Monte said.

When firefighters arrived at 3274 Mission Drive just after 5 a.m. Sunday, they could see flames shooting through the roof, Monte said. Firefighters brought the blaze under control in about 30 minutes.

Fire investigators found multiple spots around the house where fires had been set, Monte said.

On July 19, Travis Denzel Polk, 21, was found dead at the house. He was shot several times in the chest while he was sitting in a green plastic lawn chair under the carport.

Darryl Gilmore, who lived at the Mission Street home at the time of the shooting, said he heard three shots in rapid succession between 11 p.m. and midnight. A few minutes after the gunfire stopped, Gilmore walked outside, found Polk slumped in the chair and called 911.

Monte said there is no evidence that connects the fire to Polk’s killing but said the investigation still is in the early stages.

There have been other arsons during the summer in which fire investigators have found multiple places inside a house where fires had been set, but Monte said they have no reason to suspect the same person is involved in each of the house fires.

The roof of the pink house was caved in and there was debris littered about the carport Sunday morning.

The house sits just off Winbourne Avenue and is a few blocks away from Istrouma High School and Dalton Elementary School.

Anyone with information about the fire may call the Fire Department at (225) 354-1419. Anyone with information about Polk’s shooting may call the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 389-7867.