Contact: Contact: Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer
573-441-6608 - Columbia Fire Department Media Line
573-874-7557 Office (M-F, 8-5)
James Kevin Tharp, 57 years of age, has been arrested and charged with first degree arson in the early morning fire at 1315 Dunbar that occurred on August 23, 2013.
Fire Marshal, Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer stated - 'A coordinated effort between the Columbia Police Department and the Columbia Fire Department's Fire Marshal's Division led to the arrest of James Tharp for the August 23 fire on Dunbar.'
Fraizer stated evidence at the scene and incriminating comments Tharp made to an acquaintance led to his arrest.
Tharp is currently in the Boone County jail with a bail set at $20,000 for the arson charge in addition to another, unrelated charge.
For Immediate Release:
Early Morning Fire in the Highlands Causes Moderate Damage
On 08/23/2013, members of the Columbia Fire Department and Boone County Fire Protection District were dispatched, at 02:18 am, to a reported fire in the basement of 1315 Dunbar Dr with a possible trapped subject. Crews arrived on the scene at 02:25 am and they found a working structure fire in the basement. The fire was knocked down by 02:35 but after several searches of the structure they were unable to locate anyone in the basement. There were three occupants living in the structure at the time of the fire. Two lived upstairs and one in the basement. The residents were alerted to the fire when their smoke detectors went off.
At the time of this release Assistant Fire Marshal Jim Pasley stated that the fire was still under investigation. He did however issue a preliminary damage estimate of $20,000.00 There were no injuries associated with this incident.
The Columbia Fire Department wants to remind residents that working smoke alarms do save lives. Test your smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the test button. Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. To ensure adequate protection, place smoke alarms in every sleeping room, and in a common area on every floor. If you cannot afford a smoke alarm, call the Columbia Fire Department at 573-874-7556 to schedule an appointment to have free smoke alarms installed. For residences who need assistance in checking their smoke alarms, they can also contact the Columbia Fire Department.