Arsonist who set fire to Super 8 Motel in Boone arrested

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BOONE, N.C. (WJHL) – An arrest has been made following a motel fire in February 2019 along Hwy 105.

According to a release from the Boone Police Department, Ronnie Bumgarner was charged on Friday, June 14 with one count of felony first-degree arson.

On February 7, the Boone Police Department and Boone Fire Department responded to an early morning fire at the Super 8 Motel on Hwy 105.

It was quickly determined that the fire was set intentionally. Fire officials said that a then-unknown suspect had attempted to set fires in three different locations.

The release says there were many people sleeping in the motel at the time of these attempted fires.

An investigative team made up of members of the Boone Fire Department, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Boone Police Department quickly identified Bumgarner as a suspect after interviewing hotel occupants.

Bumgarner had been on-scene at the time of the fire, but he denied setting the fire.

Forensic evidence was taken over the course of the investigation and sent to the North Carolina State Crime Lab for analysis.

“The collected DNA sample from Mr. Bumgarner was sent to the North Carolina State Crime Lab to be compared with the DNA samples collected at the fire scene,” said Lieutenant Chris Hatton, Investigations Division Commander. “The results of that comparison indicate that Mr. Bumgarner’s DNA was found on key pieces of evidence in this crime.”

After receiving the lab results, an arrest warrant was issued for Bumgarner.

He was located in the Forsyth County Jail and served his warrant.

Bumgarner is scheduled to appear in Watauga County District Court on July 26.

His bond was set at $250,000.

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