LAFAYETTE PARISH, La. (KLFY) — A Tuesday night fire North of Scott is now being investigated as a burglary.

Firefighters are also investigating it as a probable arson.

Detectives have been literally piecing this together, starting with a thousand-pound safe.

“A Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s deputy in the 1300 block of HWY 93 noticed a safe in the roadway,” Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Public Affairs Communications Assistant Valerie Ponseti explained.

The large gun safe halted a deputy in his tracks around 10 p.m. Tuesday. Recognizing it as belonging to nearby former Romero’s Grocery, he was hit with a second surprise.

Ponseti said, “While on scene with the safe, the deputy then noticed the establishment was on fire as well.”

Scott Firefighters, along with aid from Duson, Carencro, Mire, and Cankton fire departments responded. Chief Chad Sonnier tells News 10 the fire appeared to be intentionally set.

“They did heavy fire damage in that one room where the fire initiated; however, they were able to contain it. We did have moderate smoke damage throughout the store and minor smoke damage in the apartment upstairs, so the guys did a real great job of knocking the fire down,” Sonnier stated.

The owner and operator of the former Romero’s grocery said the burglars got away with cash, liquor, and other valuable personal items. What they didn’t take was set ablaze.

“I don’t know why they did that. I mean take what you’re going to take. Why do you have to burn the rest man?” communicated the owner who is not using his face or name out of fear the men responsible striking again.

He hopes the safe thieves tried to break into and lost in the escape can be the key piece of evidence that locks them up in another safe place they won’t have a key to.

“Hopefully, that’s the mistake they made,” the owner said.

Romero’s grocery did close in December of 2021 due to the pandemic and other emergencies. The owner had hoped to reopen but said whoever did this must not have wanted that to happen.

No one was injured in the fire.

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office said any additional information is limited at this time.