Officials Determine Cause of Monday's Fires
Officials have determined that the St. Augustine fires, which occurred on the morning of June 23rd, 2014, were caused by a serial arsonist. St. Augustine police reported that at least three out of the four fires were arson, but they believe all four fires were connected. Surveillance around the area where the fires took place show a man that investigators suspect is the person responsible for at least one of the four fires.
The first fire was reported at 3:25 a.m., according to St. Johns County Fire Rescue, at an architectural office. When the fire crews arrived at the scene, they found the building engulfed in flames and smoke. As a result of the fire, the building partially collapsed. Police reported they heard explosions at the time of the fires. St. Augustine contains some of Florida's oldest and most historic buildings.
What are penalties of arson in Florida?
The State of Florida defines arson as when a person intentionally starts or exacerbates a fire that causes damage to property said individual does not own. There are various degrees of criminal arson and any prior arson charges, the extent of the fire damage, and if any individuals were harmed in the fire is all taken into account prior to charges being filed. If a fire was intentionally or unintentionally started and caused injuries to other individuals, the person who started the fire will be facing felony charges.
A person who starts a fire with the intention to injure a firefighter, disabled person, or minor can be found guilty of a second degree felony. When an individual interrupts fire extinguishing attempts can also be charged with arson. Minors accused of arson of a property that is less than $200 may face misdemeanor charges if the fire did not injure anyone. Adults accused of arson may be facing at least one year in prison and costly fines, depending on the circumstances of their cases.
If you or a loved one is facing arson charges, contact the Gainesville arson defense lawyer at Kinsell & Whitaker. We offer free estimates and an experienced team of criminal defense lawyers to help ensure you obtain a fair outcome for your arson case.