Homeless man charged with arson of downtown business

Published 1:47 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2015

AMERICUS — A 37-year-old homeless man was arrested for setting a fire at a downtown business.

Americus Fire & Emergency Services responded shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday to a fire at Farmers Seed and Feed at 206 N. Hampton St. where they extinguished a blaze underneath the hay shed in front of the business. Damages were over $4,300 in the building and product lost, according to Maj. Richard McCorkle of the investigations division, Americus Police Department.

Arrested Tuesday was Kenneth Wesley Phillips, 37, who was a resident of a homeless shelter on Cotton Avenue. McCorkle credits police Sgt. Trey Norton and City Fire Marshal Capt. Zane Newman in solving the crime.

McCorkle said Phillips had been arrested in May 2002, by the Perry Police Department, and charged with arson of a house.

On Wednesday, Phillips was being housed at the Sumter County Jail, charged with probation violation and arson.