Columbia Police looking for arson suspect in Booker Washington Heights fire

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Columbia Police Department is searching for a suspect in a home fire that happened Wednesday night in the Booker Washington Heights neighborhood.

The department reports 57-year-old Michael Masterson McClellan is a suspect for the blaze at 3412 Beaumont Avenue and is facing arrest warrants for 2nd-degree arson and 1st-degree burglary.

The home is a total loss, with the front and roof charred by the flames.

No one was injured in the fire, but it’s the latest in a string of fires the Columbia Richland County Fire Department is investigating.

CPD said it cannot connect McClellan to the other fires.

RELATED STORY | CRFD investigating fourth fire in Booker Washington Heights neighborhood

WIS spoke with George Adkin and his daughter Noelle who are the husband/daughter of the owner.

A visibly emotional Adkin said the home served as a get-away for his wife and he was weeks away from finishing renovations so his children could have it.

“She’s been working long and hard, and it’s just sad that somebody in a heartbeat has taken this away from us,” he said.

He added later:

“We want to know who and why who and why. Just two simple questions. Who and why, there’s got to an answer to that, and he needs to go away for a long time. A long, long time.”

CPD spokesperson Jennifer Timmons said the motive is unclear.

However, she said officers have continued active patrols in the neighborhood and spoken with community leaders about the incidents.

Adkin said the family will likely tear the property down soon, but they will keep the land.

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