Two Year Arson Investigation Solved - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Columbus

Two Year Arson Investigation Solved

 A bulldozer finishes off the rubble left from October 23, 2005--a day etched in the minds of many in Columbus., the largest structural fire in the city's history.

"The building was completely destroyed with an approximate total loss of $2,000,000. It was on the news and on TV most of the night," said Fire Chief Jeff Meyer.

Now, all that is left of the old mill are bricks scattered all over the place on the empty lot. One building has been half standing for the past two years, but now local fire officials say they are standing tall because they are quite confident that they've found the persons responsible for all of the mess.

"We thought it may have been vagrants because we didn't have any other leads and once we got a lead from more information we made a combined effort and followed the leads until we came to a conclusion," added Darryl Bryant.

That conclusion has now put 36 year-old Paula Coultes and 50 year-old Frederick Bryant behind bars.

Officials say the two burned the mill down to get revenge of people inside who ran them away from the building several times.

And now, exactly two years later, officials say they're thrilled for this big break in the investigation.

"These arrests are just one more example of coordinating efforts of local and federal agencies who have come together to have a positive outcome," added Myers.

Both suspects were already in a Georgia prison on unrelated charges.

Neither of them have yet to admit to arson, but local fire officials say they are quite confident that these two suspects are indeed the ones who set this building on fire back in 2005.

 

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