The state fire marshal has ruled a residential fire that occurred in the 1200 block of Dunwood Drive in LaFayette's Naomi area early Thursday, Jan. 12, was the result of arson.

Assistant Fire Chief and Walker County Fire Marshal Waymond Westbrook said firefighters dispatched at about 4:20 a.m. arrived to find a 5-gallon gasoline can in the backyard of the fire scene.

"All indications show it had some outside help," he said, adding that samples taken from the scene show the fire was not an accident.

The state fire marshal brought an accelerant detecting K9 that detected gasoline had been used as an accelerant.

Westbrook said this was the third fire within roughly two years that had been reported at the home.

About two years ago, the house was damaged by a fire that was blamed on a wood heater, he said.

Westbrook added that in December 2015 the residence was damaged after a vehicle caught fire in the home's garage.

The homeowner was not inside the residence at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported from Thursday's fire that began possibly in the den/living room area located in the back of the house, but authorities said the building is considered a total loss.

Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at