Arson suspect identified in New Year's house fire

Arson suspect identified in New Year's house fire
(Source: Jon Dick)
(Source: Jon Dick)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -One person is behind bars after Horry County Firefighters battled a house fire off Mill Pond Road Friday morning. Horry County Police identified the suspect as 55-year-old Jesse Allen from Myrtle Beach. Allen is being held at J Reuben Detention Center for disorderly conduct, arson 3rd degree, and domestic violence high and aggravated nature, pre-trial. No bail is set at this time.

Horry County Police have charged 55 year old Jesse Allen for starting the house fire in Socastee. The fire happened around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning off Mill Pond road. The homeowner said her boyfriend, who allegedly started the fire, was living with her there. She said because of him, now her house is gone.

Elizabeth Smith is the homeowner of the house for the past five years. She said, "Everything. Everything because what the fire didn't destroy, they had to destroy, I have no house now... I have no home."

That's how Elizabeth Smith is starting the new year. She lived in the house the past five years and Friday police said her boyfriend, Jesse Allen allegedly threw a bottle smashing through a window. She called police to report the incident and right when an officer arrived he smelled smoke.
Police called Horry County Fire, and Captain Peter Grzymalsky says his crews got the fire under control within fifteen minutes but was on scene, but was on scene for over five hours.

Peter Grzymalsky, Captain with Horry County Fire Rescue said, "We responded with approximately seven pieces of fire apparatus, about 30 personnel. The first units did quick work keeping the fire pretty much to one room. The type of structure it is, it fills up with heat and smoke very fast. Thank God they got out in time and all that and no one is hurt."

Horry County Police said Allen is facing charges of domestic violence, disorderly conduct and 3rd degree arson. Smith said because the officer came inside her home, she was able to get out in time.

"We cover up whatever we can save for the homeowners and we have to make sure there are no little things still smoldering or firing so we don't have to come back here. It's a slow methodical process as far as preserving the crime scene," said Grzymalsky.

Smith explained if it weren't for the police officer coming inside her home to smell the smoke coming from the other room, she would have been inside during the fire. "If it hadn't been for the police, I probably would have been gone. I didn't think he would do this, he's threatened me several times, but I never thought he was going to do it," said Smith.

The American Red Cross came to the scene earlier Friday to provide Smith with food, clothing and money for a place to stay temporarily.

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