The Kaplan Fire Department responded at 2:16 a.m. Feb. 7 to a vacant residential fire located at 912 West 10th Street. The home was completely consumed in flames, and firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze before it spread to other structures.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office, Kaplan PD and the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office have been operating a special task force over the past nine months investigating a series of suspicious fires dating back to 2007.
The fires have primary involved vacant and older unused buildings in the city. Immediately upon report of Tuesday's fire, the task force was dispatched and a pre-determined operational plan was executed to quickly identify suspects. Valuable evidence was obtained that led to the arrest of Felician Joseph “Fish” Primeaux, 56.
He has been charged with 12 counts of simple arson and is accused of setting fires to nine building, of which three buildings were actually set multiple times.
One blaze occurred at the Kaplan Rice Mill and destroyed the commercial structure.
Primeaux was booked into the Vermilion Parish Jail and is being held on a $300,000 bond.
The partnership of this team was credited for the successful arrests of the person believed to be responsible for this rash of dangerous fires.
“I commend Chief Boyd Adams and Sheriff Michael Couvillon for their full support and highly professional personnel who played the critical role of sticking with this investigation as we have now solved the mystery," State Fire Marshal Browning said. "This investigation included the personal involvement of Senator Jonathan Perry and he ensured that all the state’s resources were committed. The people of Kaplan should be proud of its public officials for their passion and dedication.”