FORT MILL TOWNSHIP — A Fort Mill homeowner has been been charged with setting his own house on fire last week, officials said.
Richard Fekete, 61, of 1920 Gold Hill Road, Fort Mill, was arrested Friday night and charged with one count of arson third degree and two counts of burning to commit insurance fraud, said Trent Faris, a spokesman for the York County Sheriff's Office.
Donnie Helms, a York County fire investigator, said the fire had appeared suspicious.
The Oct. 22 fire on Gold Hill Road near the main entrance to Tega Cay effectively destroyed the home. Helms called the house a total loss and said the property has an assessed valuation of $241,000.
Fekete said he was at work a short distance away at Gold Hill Automotive when his house caught fire at around 10 a.m. that morning and that no one was home at the time of the blaze. A neighbor called 911 then called Fekete, he said.
Fekete said he has lived at the residence for seven years. He hasnt been able to be reached since shortly after the fire was extinguished. Messages left at Gold Hill Automotive, where workers said Fekete continues to work, have not been answered.
No injuries were reported, officials said.
Officials called the fire suspicious since the investigation began Oct. 22. This week, Helms said that hasnt changed and that investigators are zeroing in on a cause.
Were looking at the cause and the origin, he said. Its like a big, giant puzzle and we use a lot of tools and see what works.
In addition to the York County Dept. of Fire Safety, State law enforcement agents and a York County Sheriffs Office detective are involved in the investigation, officials said.
Fekete is being held the York County Detention Center, according to the sheriff's office website. No other information was available.