First Fire in Arson Spree Set Two Years Ago - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

First Fire in Arson Spree Set Two Years Ago

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ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. -   It was on November 12, 2012, the first of 86 fires was set in Accomack County, kicking off an arson spree that would terrorize residents exhaust firefighters.  Two years have gone by since the first fire was set and the location looks like it did the day firefighters left the rubble smoldering.  Many of the structure fire locations throughout the county are in a similar condition - untouched since the fire.

The first fire was set on Dennis Drive in Parksley.  Firefighters got the call to the scene at 10:41 pm.  Little did they know it would be the first of many nights like that during the five month long arson spree in Accomack County.  The burnt wood and bricks still remain untouched two years later on Dennis Drive.  The same can be said at numerous other fire sites.  It is a sight that frustrates life long resident of Virginia's Eastern shore.

"I just hate to see it. It messes up the landscape and everything. I just hate to see it. One of these fires was right around the corner here. About a minute away from here. Still sitting there. Ain't nothing but burned up wood and the building and everything is gone," said John Crockett of Parksley.

Charles Smith was arrested in early April and confessed to setting 67 of the fires.  Virginia State Police said in total, 86 were set over those five months.  Smith went on to tell police that his ex-fiance, Tonya Bundick, was by his side for nearly every other fire that was set.  Bundick still denies any involvement.  No matter who set the fires, Accomack County residents just want the mess cleaned up.
   
"It's just no good for them being there," said Carrie Crippens of Accomack County.

"I would think there should be something done about it. You know, fix it up, make it look decent," Charles Crippens said.
   
But Accomack County leaders said the county is not responsible for cleaning up the mess from the arson spree.  In fact, county officials said it is the responsibility of the property owner to either tear down the burned buildings or clean up debris.  The owners that abandoned many of these structures in the first place.  However, there are those who disagree with the rule.

"It shouldn't be up to the people that own the house. It's not their fault that it got burned down," said Crockett.

Rules are rules so the eyesores in Accomack County will remain for now.
   
Charles Smith is awaiting a sentencing date after pleading guilty to all of his charges.  Tonya Bundick is already facing 10 years behind bars for two arson convictions but she is still fighting.  Bundick could possibly go to trial another 61 times for her remaining arson charges.  She is due in court for her next case December 16th in Virginia Beach.

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