A Florida man sought in connection with a Feb. 1 house fire in northeastern Forsyth County has been arrested on the Gulf Coast.
Forsyth County Fire Marshal Steve Anderson said 25-year-old Samuel Smith Harris was found Thursday near Panama City, Fla.
Harris will be brought back to Forsyth County, where Anderson said he will face arson and burglary charges.
The fire occurred about 4:30 p.m. last Sunday at 7545 Springmill Court.
Anderson has not said why the fire was set, only that it started inside a bedroom of the house, which was also burglarized.
Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said no one was home at the time and there were no injuries in the incident.
He said the house had heavy water and smoke damage, with about 30 percent of the structure burned.
Authorities said the incident is not connected to the Jan. 18 fire that destroyed a home on Lanier Drive, also in northeastern Forsyth. The homeowner and her boyfriend have been charged with first-degree arson in that blaze.
The Springmill Court house is owned by Bill Morgan, who said it is a rental property. He declined to identify his tenant, but said she is staying with family.
“It is insured and the insurance company is working with us to get it rebuilt,” Morgan said.
He said Harris is the tenant’s ex-boyfriend and seemed at first seemed like a “decent guy.”
“He called me up and asked if he could bring a dog in there,” Morgan said. “Most people just bring the dog and then they either don’t tell you or ask you later on.”
Morgan said other residents in the neighborhood were shocked that Harris is suspected of setting the blaze.
He said Harris did not live at the house, but visited frequently.