Man charged with arson and 32 counts of attempted murder in Slidell apartment fire _lowres

David Rutledge

The Slidell man who is accused of setting fire to the Act X apartments near Slidell, igniting a blaze that injured no one but forced the dramatic rescue of several residents, has been formally charged with aggravated arson and 32 counts of attempted second degree murder.

The District Attorney’s office filed a formal bill of information on Jan. 11 charging David F. Rutledge, 58, with the crimes.

Rutledge had been a resident of the complex on Pontchartrain Drive on Sept. 6, when what residents described as “an explosion” preceded a the fire about 1 a.m.

No one was injured, but several residents had to jump from second-floor balconies of the 16,000-square foot complex.

The initial investigation was carried about by the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office and State Fire Marshal, with assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter @faimon.