Man accused of setting his parents’ house on fire

Justin Bartlett Show caption
Justin Bartlett

Police report mother said son had been drinking ‘all afternoon’

A man who’d been drinking alcohol Sunday afternoon and arguing with his father is accused of setting fire to his parents’ home at 205 Elias G. Road in southwest Lafayette Parish, a fire investigator said.

Justin James Bartlett, 24, was booked in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center at 2:12 a.m. Monday, a little more than an hour after the fire consumed the home and a vehicle, said Alton Trahan, a Lafayette Fire Department spokesman and an investigator who arrested the suspect.

“The mother … stated her son had been drinking all afternoon,” Trahan said in an affidavit for Bartlett’s arrest.

Bartlett started arguing with his father, whose name was not released, Trahan said.

“The dad left (the home) for a brief moment,” Trahan said. “The mother stated that she was in the kitchen area and the defendant (Bartlett) was in the hallway causing chaos.

“When she looked toward the hallway, the carpet was on fire,” Trahan wrote.

Bartlett’s mother, whose name was not released, said she tried to extinguish the flames but failed and ran from the home, according to the affidavit.

Trahan said that although Bartlett acknowledged he’d been drinking and that he argued with both parents, he did not confess to starting the blaze.

“He stated he was smoking and maybe the cigarette started the fire,” Trahan said.

Bartlett also told Trahan that he tried to put out the fire, but like his mother, he failed and ran from the home.

“He could not remember much about how it started,” Trahan said in the affidavit.

Firefighters from Lafayette, Milton, Judice, Duson and Scott responded to the blaze called in at 12:11 a.m. Monday.

Arriving firefighters found flames shooting through the home’s roof and fought the blaze for 30 minutes before bringing it under control.

There were no reported injuries. The incident remains under investigation.