Columbus arson suspect arrested in Phenix City

benw@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 31, 2014 

Arson suspect Eric Lamar Person was taken into custody Friday afternoon by the U.S. Marshals Service at an undisclosed location in Phenix City, authorities said.

Person, 26, is charged with nine counts of aggravated assault, one count of arson and one count of terroristic threats in connection with the Jan. 17 fire at 2062 Mason St.

Fire Marshal Ricky Shores of the Columbus Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services said he is unsure when a hearing will be held for Person. A court hearing may be held soon if the suspect waives extradition from Phenix City.

Person was arrested about 5 p.m. without incident and held in the Russell County Jail until he is extradited to Muscogee County. The Marshals Service has been working with local fire officials since Jan. 22 to locate Person. Firefighters had to rescue a 6-year-old girl from the burning home after the fire gutted the structure about 10:10 p.m.

Firefighters at the scene were first told that the house with 11 residents, including five children, had been evacuated. During a search of the home, firefighters found the 6-year-old hiding under covers in a bedroom.

Firefighters found flames burning on both sides of the home that ignited in the middle of the house. A fire official said the girl would have died if firefighters hadn’t found her.

Firefighters also kept the fire from spreading to nearby structures. No one was injured in the blaze.

Person’s arrest comes two weeks after a fire was ignited at the home.

The arrest team consisted of the U.S. Marshals from Columbus, the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Force and the Phenix City Police Department.

Staff writer Tiffany Stevens contributed to this report.

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