Ronnie Paul Bumgarner

Ronnie Paul Bumgarner

BOONE — A man was charged with felony first-degree arson after allegedly intentionally setting several fires inside the Super 8 hotel in February.

Ronnie Paul Bumgarner, 23, was served an arrest warrant on June 14 after he was located in the Forsyth County Jail, according to Boone Police. Bumgarner was issued a $250,000 secured bond and a July 26 court date for the first-degree arson charge.

According to the Forsythe County Sheriff’s Office inmate listing, Bumgarner is also charged with failure to appear and probation violation. His total bond amount is listed as $265,000.

The Boone Police and Boone Fire departments responded to the Super 8 hotel on N.C. 105 in Boone at 3:10 a.m. on Feb. 7 when it was determined that an unknown suspect had attempted to set fires in three locations throughout the hotel. There was one origin of fire on the second floor that was actively burning and was suppressed by the sprinkler system. Char marks could also be located in other parts of the building.

An investigative team — made up of the Boone Fire Department, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Boone Police Department — began investigating the incident.

Boone Police stated that many occupants were sleeping in the hotel that night. After conducting interviews of those in the hotel, officers identified Bumgarner as a suspect in the case as he was on scene during the time of the fire. An investigator interviewed Bumgarner at the time of the fire, and he denied setting the fire, according to Boone Police.

During the investigation, investigators collected multiple items of forensic evidence during the processing of the crime scene. Those items were sent to the North Carolina State Crime Lab to be analyzed for forensic evidence. Investigators were also granted a search warrant from a judge to obtain a DNA sample from Bumgarner.

Boone Police Lt. Chris Hatton, the investigations division commander, said in a statement the collected DNA sample from Bumgarner was sent to the N.C. State Crime Lab to be compared with the DNA samples collected at the fire scene. The results of that comparison indicated that Bumgarner’s DNA was found on key pieces of evidence in this crime, Hatton stated.

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