Cedar Grove man charged with arson

DOMESTIC DISPUTE: Authorities say husband burned the house after a fight with his wife.
By Anthony Cormier News Herald Writer 747-5089 /

A 33-year-old man set a piece of paper afire and threw it into his bedroom, authorities said, starting a chain of events that torched a Cedar Grove home and landed the man in jail.

According to the State Fire Marshalís Office, Jimmy N. Spencer intentionally set his house on fire after a fight with his wife on Saturday.

Authorities arrested Spencer around 3 a.m. and charged him with arson.

Fourteen firefighters and four trucks responded to the blaze at 822 Kraft Ave. around 2:05 a.m. They attacked the fire in the master bedroom and adjoining hallway, bringing it under control in about 10 minutes.

Sometime during the blaze,authorities said, Spencerís mother-in-law entered the house and inhaled smoke. An ambulance took Sandra K.
Shutter to Bay Medical Center, where she was treated and released. Officials reported no other serious injuries.

According to an arrest affidavit, Spencer and his wife had been arguing late Friday night.

Because of that argument, investigators believe Spencer lit the piece of paper and tossed it into the bedroom, where it ignited a coat hanging on a doorknob.

The fire quickly spread to the rest of the bedroom, engulfing the northwest side of the home. Heavy smoke and flames caused about $45,000 worth of damage.

Spencerís wife, Lacricia Spencer, told investigators she was afraid of her husband despite his arrest.

"(Spencerís) wife stated that due to the fire and an earlier non-physical argument," Investigator Don Cioeta wrote in his report, "she is afraid the defendant will cause her physical harm."

Other family members said Saturday night that Lacricia Spencer was looking for a place to stay.

She could not be reached for comment, nor could her husband. Jimmy Spencer was in the Bay County Jail, awaiting his first appearance before a judge.