Two Charged with Fire That Killed Ga. Lieutenant

Dec. 17--Two Waycross men have been arrested on murder and arson charges in the Sunday morning fire in which a city fire lieutenant died when a house collapsed on him, police said.

Zachery Jacob Thompson, 17, of 1105 Carswell Avenue, and Ronnie Joseph Cranford, 23, of 505 Folks Street, were arrested Tuesday and booked into the Ware County jail, Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said.

They are charged in the death of Lt. David (Jeff) Little who died after the ceiling of a burned house collapsed on him and another firefighter about 2 a.m. Sunday. Little was pronounced dead just over an hour later at the Mayo Clinic's hospital in Waycross while the other firefighter, who was freed from the rubble quickly, suffered only minor injuries.

The two suspects were interviewed after a task force working the case developed information from a tip called into the Arson Hotline at the state fire marshal's office, Tanner said.

The pair was arrested after the interview, he said.

The task force was composed of investigators from the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Waycross Police Department detectives and staff and the city fire marshal, Tanner said.

"We like the entire community were devastated by the senseless loss of Lt. Little and were hoping for a resolution in the case. The assistance given by the state fire marshal's office and the ATF was invaluable,'' Tanner said.

A memorial service for Lt. Little will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Waycross. A funeral service will be held Friday in his hometown of Silacauga, Ala.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405

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