Squatters and vacant buildings are becoming a problem in Lafayette

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– Investigators filed arson charges against one man, Gilberto Garza, for a house fire on Eighth Street. One resident, Darren Hulse, said he’s been living on Eighth Street for nearly a year, and said he’s seen many instances of squatters causing problems.

“They been having squatters living in there for about fifteen years,” Hulse said.

Lafayette house fire damages 3 buildings; arrest made

Hulse said the home that burned down has been vacant for 15 years, allowing for squatters to live in the home. He said he has even dealt with squatters coming to his home.

“I’ve had them come over here, and I have outdoor outlets, electrical outlets. They come on here, plug in their phones and stuff over here while I was asleep,” Hulse said.

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Hulse said squatting has become a major issue on roads like the Evangeline Thruway and Pinhook.

“All up and down the Thruway from Pinhook down to the Racetrack over here, if you drive that you will see many of the old houses that were abandoned are now burnt,” he said.

Hulse said squatters will have to pay consequences for their actions.

“These people are not homeless through no fault of their own, they have chosen a lifestyle and they wanna do what they do and not have to pay the consequences,” Hulse said.

Garza was arrested and charged with simple arson in the fire case.

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