01/13/10 — Abandoned Goldsboro home damaged in suspicious fire

View Archive

Abandoned Goldsboro home damaged in suspicious fire

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on January 13, 2010 1:46 PM

A suspicious fire damaged another abandoned home on Monday evening, but authorities say they doubt it has any connection to another pair of possible arsons at vacant Grantham houses.

Wayne County has suffered at least five suspicious fires at homes and a storage facility in the past few weeks.

The most recent had been at an abandoned home on Millers Chapel Road outside of Goldsboro, a residence owned by Max Rudolph Best of Best Farms Inc.

According to Wayne County Sheriff's Office records, that fire took place at 2242 N. Beston Road in LaGrange, and was reported around 8:44 p.m. on Monday.

The report indicates that Best told deputies "there was nothing of value in the residence, nor was the residence of any value."

The structure was an old farm house that had not had tenants in several years, according to Sheriff's Office reports.

New Hope Fire Chief Donald Gray, one of the first to respond to the scene, immediately noted that there was no electricity source at the house. Gray notified both the Office of Emergency Services and Detective Sgt. Richard Winders, who did not respond to the scene.

Effler said the lack of electricity at the old farm house made the fire immediately suspicious.

"It's suspicious because there's no power source there, so somebody obviously set (the fire)," Effler said. "The origination (point) of the fire is not known."

The captain said he did not believe the suspicious fires were in any way related to a pair of suspicious Grantham fires within two miles of one another in the community southwest of Rosewood and Goldsboro.

Those fires caused a total of just $525 in damages to abandoned homes on Falling Creek Church and Paul Hare roads, authorities said.

The other two suspicious fires in recent weeks have resulted in charges, and could have some connection to the murder of Jamie Lee Hinson, 35.

Three Princeton housemates, at least one of whom attended high school with the victim, stand accused of killing Hinson.

Steven Lynn Barbour, 29, Tara Leann Sparks, 29, and Joseph E. Lanier, 21, all of 4th Street in Goldsboro, are charged with the murder and also with two fires, both in the Saulston community of Wayne County.

Ms. Sparks, Barbour and Lanier were charged under two counts apiece of "burning certain buildings," for a fire at an Antioch Road home on Dec. 27. They were also each charged with an open count of murder.

The trio were also connected to a set blaze that took place at a storage facility on Wayne Memorial Drive, on Dec. 30, Detective Sgt. and arson investigator Shawn Harris said.

Anyone with information about the unsolved arsons is encouraged to call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 735-2255 or the Sheriff's Office directly at 731-1481.