Arson suspect in Slidell condo fire has lengthy criminal history, lived in complex _lowres

Arson suspect David Rutledge

One of the residents of a condominium complex near Slidell that burned down Sept. 6 was arrested Monday and faces a count of aggravated arson and 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the fire.

Investigators said they determined that the fire was purposely set, and they identified a suspect: David Rutledge, 58, who lived in a first-floor unit at the Act X condominium complex at 4504 Pontchartrain Drive.

St. Tammany Parish sheriff’s deputies apprehended Rutledge in St. Bernard Parish with the help of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office, St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1 and the state Fire Marshal’s Office have been investigating the early morning fire with the assistance of a National Response Team from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Sheriff’s Office expects additional warrants to be issued, according to a news release.

Fire District spokesman Chad Duffaut said last week that the fire apparently began in a downstairs unit.

Residents of the building reported hearing an explosion before seeing flames about 1 a.m.

A dozen people who lived in second-floor units had to be rescued, with some jumping from balconies.

No civilians were injured, but the 16,000-square-foot building was heavily damaged by fire and water.

Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.