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Press Release

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CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis’ Fire Investigation Strike Team Assists in Arrest of Alleged Louisiana Church Fire Arsonist

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis applauded the efforts of his Fire Investigation Strike Team in assisting with the arrest of a suspect in connection with three church fires in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.

CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “I sent my Fire Investigation Strike Team to Louisiana determined to help find answers. I am proud that my detectives worked collaboratively with federal, state and local officials in Louisiana to help apprehend the suspect in this despicable series of church fires. My heart goes out to the victims and, while I’m grateful there were no injuries or loss of life, I hope that they can rebuild quickly.”

Holden Matthews, 21, was arrested Wednesday evening and charged Thursday morning on three counts of simple arson of a religious building. If convicted, Matthews faces up to 15 years in prison for each count.

About CFO Jimmy Patronis' Fire Investigation Strike Team Deployed to Louisiana

Each Strike Team member works for CFO Patronis' Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosives Investigations—a law enforcement branch of his Division of Investigative and Forensic Services that is responsible for conducting fire, arson, and explosives investigations statewide in Florida.

The Strike Team is comprised of detectives and supervisors from Orlando, Jacksonville, Ocala, Tallahassee, Panama City, and Pensacola.
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