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Officials: Firefighter set house ablaze to end wife’s suffering

Kenneth Fulford said he started the fire in a closet of his mobile home in the hopes that it would kill his disabled wife


By FireRescue1 Staff

DELHI, La. — A firefighter who started a fire at his own home said he did it to end his wife’s suffering, according to officials.

NOLA.com reported that 15-year veteran volunteer firefighter Kenneth Fulford faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, a charge that fire marshal’s office spokesperson Ashley Rodrigue said was upgraded after Fulford admitted to starting the fire in an attempt to kill his disabled wife.

Kenneth Fulford faces charges of attempted first-degree murder. (Photo/Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal)
Kenneth Fulford faces charges of attempted first-degree murder. (Photo/Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal)

Officials said Fulford’s wife suffered third-degree burns to her shoulder, and her service dog died in the fire.

Volunteer firefighter Kenneth Fulford is accused of intentionally setting fire to his home to end his wife's suffering. (Photo/Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal)

Fulford’s wife allegedly told officials that she smelled smoke while sitting on the couch with her husband, but he said he didn’t find anything after he went outside to check.

Rodrigue said Fulford went back outside to check a second time after his wife insisted, and returned to tell her their home was on fire and that she needed to get outside. 

However, Fulford did not use his training to help his wife exit the mobile home. He instead stood outside and told her to follow his voice.

Officials said Fulford did not try to help his disabled wife exit the home. (Photo/Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal)

"He did not make any attempt to go inside and physically assist her, knowing that she was going to be moving slowly due to her medical disability," Rodrigue said. "She had also taken her medication, which often makes her drowsy and disoriented. He knew all of those things."

A burning object fell from the ceiling onto Fulford’s wife’s shoulder as she attempted to exit. She made it to the door, where Fulford helped her down the stairs, and she was transported to the hospital.

Fulford was questioned about the fire after calling for help on his fire department radio, and he admitted to starting the blaze, but did not say that his intention was to kill his wife.

The firefighter also admitted to setting another home the couple owned on fire twice, destroying it the second time.

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