Alexandria couple blames suspicious fires on ghosts

It started with a string of mysterious fires at an Alexandria apartment, but investigators say they were intentionally set. The couple who lives there was arrested, but claim they didn't do it. Instead, they say it was ghosts.

The fires happened at the Fox Chase Apartments on North Howard Street where the couple lives with their 2-month-old child. According to court documents, investigators discovered five fires -- one of them in the baby's crib.

A maintenance manager discovered the fires, but the couple had no explanation. So the management company called in the fire marshal to investigate an arson.

According to court documents, the investigators found evidence of five separate fires. When investigators questioned the parents, 40-year-old Mourad Taourirt and 31-year-old Noha Snouci, they said the apartment was haunted and believed ghosts were setting the fires.

A search warrant turned up evidence the fires appeared to have been set with a lighter and investigators found two lighters in the apartment. Taourirt told investigators they don't smoke.

One of the fires court documents said involved "the intentional ignition" of a crib mattress "while the infant was sleeping in the crib."

No one at the apartment answered the door. The couple was arrested on December 23. Both were charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to report a fire. Court documents say the couple failed to call 911 or report the fires.

The baby is fine, but is now in the custody of child protective services. What court documents don't reveal is who set the fires and who put them out.

The couple was released. They made an initial appearance in court on December 30, 2014 and are due back for a status conference on February 10, 2015.