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The historic landmark LeBeau Plantation near New Orleans went up in flames and authorities now say that they believe that ghost hunters set it on fire, UPI reported Friday.
As incredible as it sounds police believe that that it was no accident that the LeBeau plantation burned to the ground. Authorities believe ghostbusters touched off the fire.
“They were in there looking for ghosts, drinking, smoking dope, and for some reason they made a decision — a conscious decision — before they left to set this building on fire,” St. Bernard Parish James Sheriff Pohlmann toldThe Advocate.. “St. Bernard lost a part of its history today, and these seven individuals are responsible for that.”
The LeBeau plantation house was constructed in 1861 inArabi, Louisiana. It had a lot of uses over the years. It was everything from a hotel, illegal casino and a private home. It was badly in repair and some claim that it was haunted. .
“It’s a fire chief’s worst nightmare to have a historical structure burn down,” St. Bernard Fire Chief Thomas Stone told The Advocate. “It was a beautiful building. We had people come out here and start crying. They are devastated by this.”
Early morning fire
The fire broke out around 2 a.m. Friday. Witnesses said the whole house when up quickly. Firefighters reportedly had to go into defensive mode. They had to let it burn because it was thought that it would be too dangerous to try to fight it more aggressively and that it was important for safety reasons for firefighters to keep their distance.
“Such a devastating loss to our community,” Chief Stone said. “It was a beautiful historical plantation."
The fire chief added that the plantation house was completely gutted. All that remained was the building’s four chimneys and a small section of the interior brick wall and the foundation.
Police say seven people were arrested and have been charged with arson. The Advocate is reporting that the alleged arsonists worked together in the area as door-to-door salesmen.
"They had been looking for ghosts, trying to summon spirits, beating on the floors," said Col. John Doran of the sheriff's office.
Historic home owned by charity
The house is owned by the charity, Arelene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation.
In a statement on its Web site, it said, “We are devastated by the news that the LeBeau Plantation caught fire last night. We are working with the St. Bernard Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office to determine the cause of the fire.
In recent years, we made significant investments into restoring the building’s structure, and we have been considering plans for fully restoring the historic plantation. Needless to say, we are deeply saddened by last night’s fire.
If you live in the area and have any remembrances of the old LeBeau plantation house, please leave your comments below. If you would like to be kept up to date on this bizarre story of the modern-day ghost hunters who were arrested for arson after allegedly setting the landmark on fire, please hit the subscribe button above. You can unsubscribe at any time.