One Arrested in Budget Inn Fire

RRPJ-One Arrested in Budget Inn Fire TOP-19Jan9The State Fire Marshal’s Office has arrested a Mooringsport man for setting fire to the motel room he was staying in.

Morgan Freepon, 33, was booked into the Red River Parish Jail on Monday, Jan. 7, on one count of Aggravated Arson.

In the evening hours of January 6, the Red River Parish Fire District requested the assistance of the SFM to investigate the origin and cause of a fire at the Budget Inn, located in the 1300 block of Ringgold Avenue in Coushatta.

Three units were affected, but only one, Unit 117, was damaged in the fire. All three affected rooms were occupied at the time of the fire, including a mother and baby, however, all occupants were able to escape unharmed.

Following an assessment of the scene and collecting witness statements, investigators determined the fire started in Unit 117, where Freepon was staying. The fire was classified as incendiary.

Deputies then made contact with Freepon, who had been taken into custody earlier in the night by Coushatta Police. In an interview with investigators, Freepon admitted setting the fire and being under the influence of illegal narcotics at the time of the fire. He was then placed under arrest.

Above information from SFM Public Affairs Director- Ashley Rodrigue

The Journal spoke with Budget Inn owners Ken and Sammie Patel. They confirm they plan on renovating the affected areas of the motel. The Budget Inn remains open with 19 guest rooms in other building that were not damaged by the fire. A total of 3 units were damaged by the blaze, however Patel said there were a total of 15 units including the laundry room and their living quarters that were not usable at present because of smoke damage.

Sammie Patel said that Coushatta Police had brought the man to the motel to get him a room for the night. “He was in the room about 15 minutes when my son saw the man sitting outside the door watching the fire,” said Patel. She added her son heard the smoke alarm sound and called 9-1-1. She said, “He came and knocked on the office door, but it was locked, so he ran to the convenience store across the street.”

Coushatta Police Chief Kevin Stafford said they picked up the suspect and he was taken to the sheriff’s office. The state Fire Marshall said he was booked into the parish jail.

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