St. Charles Herald-Guide

Paradis man charged with attempted arson

By Michael Luke - June 7, 2006

Enraged from an altercation with his girlfriend, a Paradis man poured gasoline on his living room floor. The assailant then allegedly used a cigarette lighter to spark a small fire.

"He became upset, went outside came back with a gas can, poured gas on the floor, lit it and then immediately put it out," said St. Charles Parish Public Information Officer Cpt. Pat Yoes.

According to reports, Ballard, 27, Paradis, and the victim were living together.

The argument took place in early morning hours. According to police, Ballard claimed that he had the gasoline can in his hand because he was cutting the lawn. Ballard alleges he did not light anything, but, according to reports, officers stated they smelled gasoline, although they found no evidence of a fire.

Ballard stated that he was outside filling the lawnmower with gasoline. Then, he entered the home to speak to the victim regarding the argument, and accidentally spilled some fuel but never ignited it.

If the fire was quickly extinguished, it would corroborate the deputies' account, leaving no trace of charred remains but still emitting a gasoline odor.

While Ballard presents a rather docile story, the victim's account of the incident, however, is quite different. "According to the victim, (Ballard) said I'm going to set the house on fire and kill you.' He went outside got the gas can, poured a little on the floor and then lit the gas with a cigarette lighter," said Yoes.

Yoes said that there were no reports of alcohol or drugs being a factor in the domestic altercation.

Ballard's girlfriend, who police have did not identified, was not injured or harmed incident.

According to police reports, Ballard was arrested and booked on two counts of aggravated arson. Cpt. Yoes said that Ballard faces 6 to 20 years for each count of aggravated arson.

Brian Ballard, 27, Paradis
Brian Ballard, 27, Paradis