A squatter looking to cook a steak on the porch of a vacant Perkins Road home Sunday afternoon burned the house to the ground after he repeatedly doused the fire with gasoline, the Baton Rouge Fire Department said Monday.
The fire consumed the wood-frame house, damaged a neighboring Burger King restaurant and led police to close down Perkins Road just east of Essen Lane as firefighters battled the flames.
Charles Irwin Oby, 65, said he kept pouring gasoline on the fire because he couldn’t keep the flames going in the barbecue pit, a Baton Rouge Fire Department report says.
The fire, which started around 4:45 p.m., soon spread throughout the one-story house and sent flames spouting above the surrounding trees.
Three employees fled from inside a Burger King next door, and the restaurant was damaged by the intense heat of the fire, officials said.
No one was injured in the fire, Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman Curt Monte said Sunday.
A witness told investigators he asked Oby to stop using gasoline but he ignored the requests, eventually catching the house of fire, the report says.
Authorities found Oby near the scene of the fire Sunday and detained him for questioning, the report says. Oby admitted to stoking the fire with gasoline as he sought to cook the steak.
The owner of the house, who was not identified, said he’d asked Oby several times to leave the property and not come back, according to the report.
Oby was booked into Parish Prison on one count each of simple arson and criminal trespass.
Bail for Oby had not been set as of Monday afternoon.