AceShowbiz - A fire that damaged Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z's New Orleans mansion was likely not an accident. The blaze that engulfed the historic home is now being investigated as possible arson, officials have confirmed.
On Thursday, July 22, a spokesperson for the New Orleans Police Department said officers initially responded to the scene following a call about a suspicious person on the area on Wednesday around 6.20 P.M., Nola.com reports. Around the same time, the fire broke.
The fire in the 1500 block of Harmony Street appears to have started in the kitchen, where firefighters found books inside of an oven. A gas can was also found inside the house. A neighbor told the website that police believe someone broke into the home shortly before the fire.
"Inside the house, I've never seen any activity in the two years I've been here. No activity at all," another neighbour said. A witness additionally told WGNO News that a man was seen running from the property.
August Arther said, "I was walking around the corner with my dog... and I saw a lot of smoke coming out." He added, "My neighbour around the corner, she saw a dude jump over the fence on the backside of Harmony and Eigth."
It took 22 firefighters and a little over two hours to extinguish the fire in the Garden Disrtict of the Louisiana city. "If they didn't get there when they did, it could have been much worse. It’s a historic home," a fire department spokesperson told the New York Post.
Beyonce and Jay-Z are believed to have purchased the $2.4 million six-bedroom, six-and-a-half bathroom property in the early 2010s via Sugarcane Park LLC. The firm is managed by the "Crazy in Love" hitmaker's mother, Tina Lawson.
The Spanish baroque mansion was originally built as a church in 1927, before it was repurposed as the base for an eight-dancer ballet company. The official also confirmed there were no injuries and no one required evacuation.