Arson suspected in Centerville fire

A Centerville man is suspected of setting fire Tuesday to the house of a neighbor he threatened the day before, officials said.

Michael Blanchard Sr., 45, who lives in a home on Palmer Lane in Centerville, was booked into the St. Mary Parish on one count of simple arson. Blanchard was arrested a few hours after firefighters arrived to find another home on Palmer lane engulfed in flames, St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Traci Landry said.

“During the course of the ... investigation, the (investigator) learned that Blanchard verbally threatened the property owner the previous morning,” Landry said.

Witnesses said the fire might have been started on purpose, and investigators at 6:22 a.m. Tuesday arrested Blanchard.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office also is investigating the incident, she said.