NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Norfolk fire marshals took a man into custody Thursday, accusing him of burning down his own home.
Christopher Beaucage, 40, was arrested Thursday afternoon and is being held in Norfolk City Jail without bond, according to Battalion Chief Julian Williamson. He’s charged with arson after Norfolk Fire-Rescue investigated a suspicious fire that destroyed Beaucage’s Ocean View home early Thursday morning.
Around 4 a.m., firefighters were called to the residence in the 900 block of E. Balview Ave., and found the house engulfed in flames. Officials closed the intersection of East Balview Avenue and Chesapeake Street while about 35 firefighters battled the blaze.
Williamson said crews controlled the flames just after 5 a.m., but firefighters remained there for hours, putting out hot spots. Around 7 a.m., while heavy smoke could still be seen rising from the structure, the house was deemed a total loss. Authorities later demolished it.
Fire Marshals determined the fire was incendiary, and after talking to witnesses, they developed a description for a person of interest. The man — homeowner Christopher Beaucage — was found, questioned and arrested.
Earlier in the day, neighbors told WAVY.com the home was a source of trouble.
“We have in fact spoken with our CRO officers about the repeated offenses that have come from that house,” said neighbor Linda Lundquist.
Neighbor David Heaberlin said he cleared out his house because of the fire.
“We looked at the window and it was lit up orange, and we opened the blinds, looked out the window and there were just flames going up like crazy,” he said. “So I woke them up because we had to get the kids out of the house. I run around the corner and just the house is up in flames. It was making big boom sounds like bullets were going off inside.”
The residence next door sustained minor damage, due to radiant heat, Williamson said.
Dominion Power cut off power to the home and to the entire block temporarily, to avoid the risk of having live wires in the area.
Beaucage was scheduled to appear in court later this month for several, older unrelated charges, including assault on an officer. WAVY.com has left a message with the lawyer representing him in those cases for comment.