Man charged with arson following weekend house fire

Saturday, November 11, 2017

NEW MADRID, Mo. - A family of five is homeless and the man accused of setting their house on fire is currently in jail.

Larry E. Law, 48, of New Madrid is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on five counts of first degree assault, two counts of first degree arson and tampering with a motor vehicle.

According to New Madrid Police Chief Joey Higgerson, his department received a 911 call at about 3 a.m. Saturday reporting a house on fire at the corner of St. Monica and St. Margaret streets in New Madrid. The caller told police as she discovered the fire she saw Law running from the scene.

When police and the New Madrid Fire Department arrived on the scene, they found the home’s occupants, three adults and two children, had escaped the fire. The house and two vehicles were a total loss and an adjacent residence was damaged by the blaze, Higgerson said.

The Missouri State Fire Marshal was called to investigate.

“He recognized it as an intentional fire and ruled out any possibility it was accidental,” Higgerson said.

The police chief stated some type of accelerant was poured over the cars, on the carport and around the house. Also a window was broken in one of the vehicles and accelerant poured inside.

Officers began searching for Law who was found later that morning at a residence in New Madrid. He was taken into custody at that time.

Although Law refused to speak with officers about the incident, Higgerson noted he has “a

personal history with the people who lived there. This was not a completely random act.”

Higgerson said the family lost all their personal belongings as well as vehicles to the blaze. He said several individuals and organizations are trying to assist the family and if someone would like to make a donation they can contact him at the New Madrid Police Department at 748-5901.

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