By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Suspect sought in house fire
Officials: Blaze, Jan. 18 incident not linked
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News

Authorities are searching for a suspect in connection with a fire Sunday that damaged a house in northwestern Forsyth County.

Capt. Jason Shivers of the Forsyth County Fire Department said the incident, which has been ruled arson, occurred about 4:30 p.m. at 7545 Springmill Court.

Forsyth County Fire Marshal Steve Anderson said an arrest warrant for 25-year-old Samuel Smith Harris of Florida has been turned over to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

Anderson declined to say why the fire was set, only that it started inside a bedroom of the house, which was also burglarized.

Authorities do not think the incident is connected to the Jan. 18 fire that destroyed a home on Lanier Drive in northeastern Forsyth. That fire has since been ruled arson.

Shivers explained why the investigation of the Springmill Court fire has progressed faster than the Lanier Drive probe.

"We had witness statements, homeowner statements and evidence that clearly gave our investigators direction for a suspect, whereas the fire on Lanier Drive does not give such clear indications," he said.

Shivers said fire investigators continue to follow leads in the Lanier Drive case. No suspects have been named.

Authorities also are investigating racist graffiti someone spray-painted on a fence along the property.

No one was home at the time of the blaze. The homeowner has said she thinks she was targeted because of her support for President Barack Obama.

Shivers said no one was in the Springmill Court residence at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported.

He said about 30 percent of the structure was burned and the house had heavy water and smoke damage.

"It is salvageable and can be repaired, but the damage is significant," Shivers said.

He said it took firefighters eight minutes to get the blaze under control.

According to Forsyth County tax records, the 1,600-square-foot, one-story house is valued at $151,430.

Attempts to reach the homeowners, William and Eva Morgan, were not successful.

The fire department is also investigating a Sunday afternoon grass fire on Friarbridge Drive in south Forsyth that spread to a gazebo in the neighborhood's community area.

No one was injured in the fire, which Shivers said was set by a child. Authorities have not decided whether to charge the girl.

"The act of starting the fire was intentional, but we don't think the result was her intention," he said.