Alleged Meriwether serial arsonist from Gay arrested

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sheriff: Suspect set 3 fires in 1 week

Melanie Ruberti


GAY — An alleged serial arsonist was behind bars this morning in Meriwether County.

Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith said his office along with the Georgia State Fire Marshal’s office investigated three suspicious fires around the city of Gay.

Smith announced Monday that investigators arrested Michael Lee Wright, 25, of Gay in connection to the fires.

“I am very pleased that our investigators were able to bring these incidents to a successful conclusion with the arrest of the (suspected) perpetrator in these incidents,” Smith said. “We are fortunate that no one got injured in these incidents and that the fire personnel were able to extinguish these fires before they spread and endangered others and their property.”

Investigators said on July 16, the Meriwether County Fire Department responded to a woodland fire on Wildwood Court. According to Smith, firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze, but found items that showed it was purposefully set.

The Sheriff said on July 19 and 23, the Meriwether County Fire Department responded to fires in a vacant home in the 100 block of Pinewood Drive. Smith stated in the first blaze, there was moderate damage. But in the second fire, there was extensive damage to the interior of the home, Smith added.

“In both of these incidents, items of evidentiary value were located that revealed that both of these fires were intentionally set,” he explained. “Our agency was called in to investigate these incidents as arson. We contacted the Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office to assist with the collection of the fire scene samples. Through the course of the investigation our investigators were able to identify a suspect in all three of these incidents.”

The sheriff said Wright lives in the same block as the house he allegedly twice set on fire.

Wright is charged with one count of burning woodlands, two counts of arson and one count of burglary.

He was being held this morning in Meriwether County Jail without bond.

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.