AIKEN -- A 19-year-old volunteer firefighter is in custody after a series of suspicious fires, including one that damaged Aiken County Summary Court in New Ellenton.
According to a statement released this morning by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, Brandon W. Smith, 19, 500 block of Florida Avenue, is charged with four counts of arson in the second degree, as well as a charge of malicious injury to real property.
He was arrested Thursday night during a traffic stop, and was held at the Aiken County Detention Center.
Mr. Smith is employed as a volunteer firefighter with the New Ellenton Fire Department, according to police. He was released Thursday from the Aiken Department of Public Safety, where he was in training to become a driver/operator.
In the most recent case, the police statement said, the suspect is believed to have set an Aug. 8 fire to a home under renovation on Gray Mare Hollow Road.
He is also a suspect in a July 8 fire to another home under renovation on Chukker Creek Road, as well as a fire at an abandoned home on Fairlane Street, New Ellenton
The charge of malicious injury stems from May 27 woods fire near 402 Old Whiskey Road, police said.
After setting the fires, police said their suspect would either would respond to the blazes as a firefighter or go home.