ALMA — A volunteer firefighter who was arrested Feb. 10 and charged with eight counts of arson in the first degree, will appear in court on April 11 in the Bacon County Courthouse.
Jamie Hutchinson, 32, of Nicholls, a volunteer with the Bacon County Fire Service, is in the Bacon County jail charged with four counts of structural arson and four counts of woodland arson.
One fire that she intentionally set, according to Bacon County fire officials, was on Old Dixie School Road in the Taylor Town area Sunday, Feb. 10, and evidence gathered in the investigation led to an arrest in the case.
State Fire Marshal Shane Taylor called Hutchinson a “serial arsonist” and added that “she also instructed others to set fires.”
Attorney John Thigpen Sr., who, along with Alex Brown, is representing Hutchinson, said he will be seeking bond at the April hearing.
Bacon County fire officials say they had approximately 13 fires in a period of 40 days that could have been attributable to Hutchinson.
Investigators say they are not sure what the motive was in setting the fires but the investigation into the incidents is ongoing.
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 that carries a penalty of five to 20 years in prison and (or) a fine of up to $50,000.
Details with regard to the specific fires themselves and the destruction of property were not revealed in a press release issued by the fire department.