Local News

Argument over stolen phone may have led to arson

Posted February 18, 2009 10:15 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— A Hope Mills man was charged Wednesday with setting fire to a home while 10 people slept inside, authorities said.

Scott Anthony McIntyre, 35, of 5470 Calhoun Court, was charged with first-degree arson and was held in the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $50,000 bond.

Investigators said McIntyre set fire to a mobile home at 5539 Lafayette St. early Tuesday. The home was destroyed, but the residents and their guests, including two infants, a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old, escaped unharmed, authorities said.

Al Stowe said he was roused from sleep early Tuesday by his dogs barking and saw flames in back of the mobile home.

"I just started yelling at everybody to grab a kid, grab a kid. Everybody grabbed a kid, and we all ran out," Stowe said.

As the fire raged, he said, he saw McIntyre, who lived nearby, walking away.

"Actually, I looked at him as a friend. The last thing I ever expected was for this to happen," Stowe said.

McIntyre had gone to Stowe's home late Monday night asking for money and Stowe refused, authorities said.

"He asked to use the phone, and he used the phone and then he stole the phone," Stowe said, adding that he went to McIntyre's home and demanded his phone back.

"I guess he got upset, and I guess he decided to burn the house down," he said.

Stowe said he often would allow his children's friends to stay over if they had nowhere else to go. McIntyre knew about all the people in the mobile home, he said.

"He even asked whose babies are they (when) he saw them all lying on the bed. He just didn't have any regard for human life, it looks like," he said.

Stowe had no insurance on the mobile home. The Red Cross has provided him a hotel room for several days.

"I'll figure it out. I'll be alright," he said.