COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A 21-year-old man who was arrested after fires were set at homes owned by Gov. Henry McMaster has been denied bond.
According to the Columbia Police Department, Frank Wilberding was also charged 10 counts of first-degree assault and battery. These charges were filed Thursday, according to officials.
A judge set a $100,000 bond on those charges. However, bond was denied on three arson charges.
One victim who made a statement to the judge said, “We lost everything in that fire, priceless family heirlooms, stuff that was given to me by my grandfather who passed away last year, and on top of that if we were in that house three minutes later, this would be a different story.”
A handful of victims attended bond court Tuesday morning.
One of those victims, Romey Poore Jr., said his head was a couple feet away from where the fire started, and he was the one who called 911.
“I saw flames come out of the doorway and immediately started yelling fire to everybody,” Poore Jr. said. “I did not know him [Wilberding] I had no recollection of really ever seeing him, it’s just an unfortunate accident.”
Despite everything lost in the fire, Poore Jr. told the judge he found a way to forgive.
“We lost our house, we lost our stuff but we didn’t lose the important things,” Poore Jr. said. “Stuff is more replaceable than any life that was in that building next door. My battle is pretty much over. I’m not going to lose sleep at night over a lot of this going on so the least I can do is forgive him.”
Investigators determined Wilberding allegedly set fire to materials on the back porch of 1828 Greene Street, but the flames extinguished on their own.
Officials said the homes burned Wednesday suffered about $450,000 in damages. Occupants in the homes were not injured and made it out safely.
Wilberding was also charged with possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance.