ALMA – A volunteer firefighter who was charged with several counts of arson in February was allowed to post bond Thursday in Bacon Superior Court.
Superior Court Judge J. Kelly Brooks granted bond in the amount of $25,000 but ordered Jamie Hutchinson, 32, of Nicholls, a volunteer with the Bacon County Fire Service, to wear an ankle monitor, adding the cost of the monitor to her penalty.
“She will also have a curfew of 7 p.m. until 7 a.m.,” said her defense attorney, John R. Thigpen Sr.
No date has been set for the trial to be held in Alma. Thigpen, along with Waycross attorney Alex Brown, are in charge of Hutchinson’s defense.
Her motive in setting the fires has not been stated by authorities.
One of the fires, an old wooden structure on Old Dixie School Road, was determined to have been intentionally set and investigators were able to identify Hutchinson as the arsonist. She was additionally charged with four counts of structural arson and four counts of woodland arson for setting other fires.
Investigators also arrested Jayce Smith and two juveniles, saying they helped Hutchinson plan and start fires to create fire calls for the Bacon County Fire Department.
Fire investigator Shane Taylor said the county had approximately 13 fires in a period of 40 days that could have been attributable to Hutchinson.
“The fires were occurring at similar times of the day, late into the evening until up around midnight,” said Thigpen.
Bacon County Fire Chief Brent White said he knew early on that he was dealing with an arsonist and called for assistance from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Georgia Forestry Commission.
He said the fires were investigated thoroughly.
“I want to reassure the people of Bacon County that suspicious fires are investigated and intentionally set fires are prosecuted,” White said. “In this situation, a new volunteer fireman attempted to put a black eye upon the departments. Regardless of the offender, these cases are prosecuted.”
First degree arson is a felony with a penalty of five to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.