Thunderbolt Man to Be Charged with Arson - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/11/04

Thunderbolt Man to Be Charged with Arson

The Thunderbolt Fire Department answered a call early this morning, and quickly found out the fire was intentionally set. The flames lit up the night sky as firefighters, with the help of some neighbors, battled a blaze on a house that is now a crime scene. After the fire was put out, the man who lived there told investigators he was mad at his wife, so he set his own house on fire.

"The gentleman who was living here had a couple of problems and some issues and apparently he decided to set the house on fire," said Chief Carl Smith of the Thunderbolt FD.

Next-door neighbor Jack Lucree saw the house go up in flames, called 911 and ran outside, fearing his own house would go up next. But when police arrived, he saw something even more shocking. "The policeman said, 'He's in the car,'" Lucree told us. "And I said, 'What you got him in the car for?' and he just said, 'He's the one who set the fire.'"

Investigators say 51-year-old Greg Schmidt boasted about a fight he had with his wife before setting the house ablaze.

According to neighbors, this wasn't the first time Schmidt acted out in a fit of anger. Previous reports of domestic disputes have been filed, but investigators say this is by far one of the strangest acts of anger they've seen.

"It happens for money and other things, people try to hide it," said Chief Smith. "But to have an individual burn his house down and point blank be standing out in the road and telling you when you're pulling up, saying, 'Hey, I poured the gas and I set the house on fire,' is a pretty rare occasion."

Schmidt is now behind bars. He'll be charged with arson.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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