New Iberia, LA – Late night arson fire at medical center extinguished by sprinkler system

A man has been arrested after, fire marshals say, he intentionally set a fire at Iberia Medical Center early Friday morning. Ruddy Romero, Jr., 25, of New Iberia, allegedly set fire to a hospital blanket on a set of chairs in an Intensive Care Unit waiting room on the second floor. Romero set the fire before leaving the hospital, according to Chief Deputy Brant Thompson. State fire marshal investigators say the fire alarm system activated, hence alerting hospital employees, patients, and visitors. The alarm was immediately followed by the activation of the fire sprinkler system, which quickly extinguished the fire shortly before 1:30 a.m. Romero was later interviewed by investigators and admitted to lighting the blanket on fire, directly threatening more than 100 patients, staff members, and visitors, Thompson says. Romero was arrested on charges of aggravated arson. He is being held in the Iberia Parish jail on a $20,000 bond.

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