Louisiana Ex-Cop, Volunteer Firefighter Pleads Guilty in Arson Case

August 15, 2008

A former Amite, La., police officer, who also served as a volunteer firefighter in Roseland, has pleaded guilty to 13 counts of simple arson.

District Judge Elizabeth Wolfe sentenced 23-year-old Lee Allen Widas to five years in jail and ordered him to make restitution.

Widas, of Roseland, was arrested March 8 while fighting a fire in his hometown. Under questioning, Widas admitted setting six fires but gave no reason for doing so. Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says Widas was later booked with setting seven other blazes.

Police Chief Jerry Trabona suspended him shortly after his arrest.

State fire marshal’s investigators say the fires in the Amite area occurred while Widas was on police duty, and the Roseland fires happened while he was off duty. Three of the fires were schools — Amite Elementary, Northwood High and Oak Forest Academy.

Information from: The Daily Star, www.hammondstar.com

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