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Maple Street house burns after family feud

NATCHEZ — Cleotha Rice III, 35, was arrested Thursday morning for arson charges associated with a house fire at Rice’s 639 Maple St. residence.

Chief Mike Mullins said Rice was also arrested for simple assault and domestic violence charges relating to a dispute with his father, Cleotha Rice Jr., who also lived at the Maple Street residence. Rice is being held at the Natchez City Jail without bond.

Mullins said the police received a call at 8:12 a.m. from the mother of Cleotha Rice III, who reported seeing smoke in the back of her house, where the fire was started.

When police drove to the scene, the father and son were reportedly in a physical fight in the front lawn.

Mullins said Cleotha III reportedly started the fire when his father Cleotha Jr. left the residence to obtain an order from justice court to evict his son.

All four Natchez fire stations responded to the house fire.

No injuries were reported.

Mullins said the incident is still under investigation.

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