Joseph Washington, a 29-year-old New Orleans man has been accused of setting fire to his ex-wife’s home with their three young children inside, killing them, has been taken into custody, according to his distraught father.
The arrest of Joseph Washington, was not immediately confirmed by New Orleans police.
He was booked on three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of cruelty to a juvenile and one count of aggravated arson.
The New Orleans Fire Department said in a statement firefighters received a call Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 12:09 a.m., about “possible persons trapped” inside a home on the 4900 block of America Street. Trucks arrived five minutes later and fire crew were told that three children were likely still in the residence.
Firefighters started an “interior attack” of the fire and searched for the children at the same time.
They discovered an unresponsive child near the front door and another between the kitchen and entryway.
Firefighters tried to resuscitate them before EMS arrived and transported the two juveniles to the hospital, where they died. WVUE-TV reports the victims were an 8-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl.
The fire department received a request for a second alarm at 12:27 a.m. because firefighters did not want the blaze to spread to neighboring homes.
Officials continued to search the home for the third child and found a toddler “near the center of the dwelling.” The 3-year-old child was already dead.
According to the statement, 17 trucks and other vehicles responded to the home with 46 fire personnel battling the flames.
The fire was under control at 12:40 a.m.