Maryland man accused in Louisiana motel arson

RUSTON, La. (AP) — A man from the Washington area is accused of setting fire to a north Louisiana motel room.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office says 42-year-old Bruce Phillips Jr. of Clinton, Maryland, was arrested on one count of aggravated arson.

Fire marshal’s spokeswoman Ashley Rodrigue says in an email Phillips told investigators he doesn’t know how the fire started Saturday in his room at the Relax Inn in Ruston.

She said on Facebook that motel employees learned of the fire when someone threw a burning mattress from a balcony.

Investigators learned Phillips had checked into the room where it was set hours earlier, and was seen standing nearby while the blaze grew.

Nobody was hurt. Four rooms were damaged.

Ruston’s about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northwest of New Orleans.

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