LaGrange Police are investigating a suspected arson incident where it appears as if suspect(s) intentionally tried to burn down a local barbershop.
Tuesday night about 9:26 p.m., firefighters with the LaGrange Fire Department were called to the Barber Shop on Ridley Avenue in reference to reports of a structure fire.
The fire was initially reported by a passer-by, who observed smoke rising from the back of the building. Officers arrived a few minutes later and found smoke and flames coming from the basement area.
Firefighters then entered the business with a fire attack hose and discovered a couch inside the basement was on fire.
By the time the fire was reported and firefighters arrived, the flames and heat had caused a water pipe to burst, which helped extinguish most of the flames. Firefighters then continued to douse the fire, which was contained to the basement area and brought under control by 9:42 p.m.
Once the fire was extinguished the fire departments initial investigation determined that the cause of the fire may have been arson, so they contacted LaGrange Police to further investigate.
Firefighters found empty bottles of lighter fluid inside the basement and an empty plastic gas can near the basement door. These initial observations led fire department officials to believe that the couch was intentionally ignited.
The back door to the basement of the Barber Shop also appeared to be kicked in. When firefighters arrived they were able to enter by pushing the door open with minimal resistance. The door handle had damage as if a rock had been used to bash it open. The door was also covered in mud and had a shoe print near the lock.
The wood frame near the door locks had also been snapped open and damaged. The door latches were bent out of place. The wood along the door frame near the locks had also been snapped and damaged.
The fire department officials say they did not manipulate the door in any way and only pushed it open further in order to extinguish the fire.
The building basement and its contents sustained moderate heat, smoke, and water damage.
The fire is still under investigation by LaGrange Fire and Police Departments. If anyone has any further information about this incident, please contact the LaGrange Police Department at 706-883-2603 or Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000, or text an anonymous tip to 274637, keyword “LAGRANGE.” Anonymous tips can also be submitted online at www.lagrangega.org.
Information leading to arrests is often eligible for a cash reward.