A man has been arrested on charges related to a recent alleged arson which left multiple animals dead.
Adrian Shawn Haynes, 46, has been charged with first degree arson after allegedly setting his home ablaze Saturday evening, according to a statement released by the Mount Airy Police Department.
The statement said that Haynes had been in a “domestic related argument” with Tamara Starr Reedy prior to the fire erupting. However, Police Chief Dale Watson stopped short of proclaiming the two matters to be related.
At 6:58 p.m. on Saturday Mount Airy Fire Department personnel responded to a fire at 906 and 908 North South St., a duplex at the corner of North South Street and Hay Street
Haynes resided at the 908 North South St. address.
Aided by members of Bannertown and Franklin volunteer fire departments, firefighters had the situation under control in about 40 minutes, according to a statement released by the Mount Airy department.
However, officials estimate nearly $70,000 in damage was caused by the blaze.
The structure is valued at about $68,000 by the tax department.
Fire Chief Zane Poindexter was the one who discovered the blaze. He said he saw smoke rising while attending his son’s baseball game at Mount Airy High School.
“I told my wife, ‘I’m going to run up there. I’ll be right back,’” said Poindexter. “I never made it back to the game.”
Poindexter said when he arrived at the scene, the “left side of the building was completely involved.” The fire had also spread to the attics of both sides of the duplex, leading to the total loss of the structure.
The death toll
The chief said when firefighters first arrived on scene there was some concern a woman might be in the structure. Nobody had seen the woman believed to be in the building since the fire broke out. There were also sounds coming from the building — sounds like those of somebody trying to escape.
“It turned out it was cats,” remarked Poindexter. “There was a large pet-loss.”
Though Poindexter said there were no injuries to people, the fire proved fatal for a number of Haynes’ neighbors’ feline friends.
The fire claimed the lives of more than 20 cats. The cats suffered from smoke inhalation, according to Poindexter.
“We were able to revive one,” said Poindexter. “We carry oxygen masks for patients, and were able to use one to save one of the cats.”
Poindexter said the surviving cat is back in the hands of its owner. Officials from the Surry County Animal Control department removed the dead cats from the scene of the incident.
Haynes is being held at the Surry County Detention Center on $15,000 bond. Officials said the case is still under investigation.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.