Local News

71-year-old Fayetteville man charged with arson

Posted March 24, 2010 5:02 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2010 11:54 a.m. EDT

— A 71-year-old Fayetteville man was charged with first-degree arson on Wednesday, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say James McKoy, of 1436 Jacob St., was removing landscaping debris from the backyard of a home at 1421 Garner St. The homeowner, Mabel Williams, said she hired McKoy for the job but gave him specific instructions not to burn anything.

When McKoy returned to the home on Wednesday to finish the project, he piled up the debris and used paper and a match to set it on fire, authorities said. He left the fire to bring additional debris to the pile, and when he returned, the fire had spread to nearby trees and onto the roof of Williams’ home.

McKoy tried to stop the fire with a garden hose and fire extinguishers but was unsuccessful.

Williams, 77, was inside the home when the fire broke out, authorities said. Fayetteville firefighters rescued her from the home, which was severely damage.

McKoy was unaware that Williams was home when the fire started, deputies said.

Authorities were processing McKoy at the Cumberland County Detention Center Wednesday afternoon. No bond information was available.