Man charged with arson in connection to Bennettsville fires

Pee Dee Crime

James Smith (photo: SC Forestry Commission)

BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – A man is charged with arson in connection to several fires in Bennettsville.

James Smith, 40, of Bennettsville, was arrested on September 23 by a South Carolina Forestry Commission officer, according to the SCFC. He is facing three count of arson.

Smith allegedly ignited three fires with a flare gun on three separate properties on Dundee Drive in Bennettsville on September 21, the SCFC said. These properties included a lawn, “woodlands cutover” and an agricultural field.

A SCFC fire management officer, the Bennettsville Police Department and the Bennettsville Fire Department responded to the fires. The fires were each contained to less than half an acre.

“Three witnesses provided statements, claiming they saw Smith shooting the flare gun to ignite the fires. Authorities recovered evidence, including flares, at the scene,” the SCFC said. “After further questioning, Smith gave consent to search his residence, and officers found a flare gun that shot the same type of flares found at the scene.”

On September 23, Smith was booked in to the Marlboro County Detention Center and is awaiting trial. If he is convicted, he faces a fine “not more than $5,000 or a prison sentence of not more than five years.”

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