THOMSON, Ga. A part-time McDuffie County firefighter/first responder and his wife were being held at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center today on felony charges of arson and fraud stemming from a December fire at his Warren County home.
Jerry Ronald Fullwood, 23, who now lives on Raborn Road in Hephzibah, was charged with first degree fraud and first degree arson, according to sheriff’s department records. Investigators Michael Crosby and Dan Mealor of the State Fire Marshal’s Arson Unit have been involved with the case since the December fire. Investigator Crosby said he and the lead investigator in the case were planning to interview Mr. Fullwood on Wednesday morning.
An additional charge of giving false statements to authorities was filed later in the day against Mr. Fullwood. His wife, 19-year-old Elizabeth Fullwood, who came to the jail to visit her husband earlier, also has been charged with first degree arson and first degree fraud, according to a jail spokeswoman.
Bond has been set at $55,000 for Mr. Fullwood and $50,000 for Mrs. Fullwood.
Mr. Fullwood was taken into custody by Deputy Joey Akers of the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, and booked into the McDuffie County jail late Tuesday.
Investigator Crosby could not say whether additional arrests might be forthcoming.
Mr. Fullwood and his family had moved out of a rented home in Thomson and moved to Warren County after he purchased a new mobile home. He now stands accused of setting fire to that mobile home on Dec. 15. At the time of the incident, his fellow firefighters held a series of fundraisers to help the family recover from the fire, according to a past McDuffie Mirror story. Mr. Fullwood received minor injuries in the fire.
Warren County Fire/Rescue Services Chief Tommy Wolfe said Mr. Fullwood had applied to work as a volunteer with his department the day before the December fire. Mr. Wolfe said he was “a little suspicious of the fire from the beginning,” and called in the State Fire Marshal’s office to help with the investigation.
At the time of the fire, Mr. Fullwood was a full-time employee with the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services. He later left that position and began working with the Grovetown Department of Public Safety.
Grovetown Capt. Gary Owens said Mr. Fullwood resigned earlier this week.
Assistant Chief Steven Sewell of the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services said he could make no comment about the matter, based on personnel policy.