$10K reward offered for information in Long County arson case

LONG CO., GA (WTOC) - A house fire in Long County Thursday morning has investigators looking for an arsonist.

They say someone set the fire with two people inside.

It didn't take investigators long to figure out this was more than a terrible accident - and instead- a near-deadly crime. The husband and wife inside barely made it out alive.

The ashes are all Richard Worthy and his wife Shelly have of their home. Richard woke up to her screams around 3:30 a.m.

"She said, 'It's a fire, it's a fire!' When she said 'fire,' I tried to get out the door. When I opened the door, the flames came in," Worthy said.

The fire spread quickly through the 80-year-old wood home. Richard jumped through a window before he realized his wife hadn't followed him.

"I panicked because I was thinking, 'she's still in this house.'

He broke through another window to rescue her. Investigators found evidence that the fire was set. Richard says he can't think of any enemies that might do this.

"Last time I argued with anybody, it was two-and-a-half years ago," Richard said.

Investigators often see arson as a property crime or vandalism, but trying to burn two people alive makes this different.

"This is actually a violent crime, isn't it," we asked investigators?

"Absolutely. A violent crime times two. Arson in the first degree, aggravated assault times two," said Sheriff Craig Nobles, Long County.

The state fire marshal's office has posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Worthy hopes they're found, for everyone's sake.

"This person is dangerous to the whole community. If he did it to me, given the chance, he'll do it to anybody," he said.

The sheriff doesn't care if it's guilt or greed that brings somebody forward, just as long as they bring information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible.

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