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House fire reported, suspect caught

A house fire was reported Thursday night, believed to be intentionally set. A suspect in the fire has been arrested and is in custody.

At 11:25 p.m. on Thursday, the Demopolis Fire and Rescue Department was called to the residence at 704 S. Walnut Ave, one side of a duplex rented by Kimberly McNider.

When DFRD arrived at the scene, firefighters reported heavy smoke pouring from the building. Twelve firefighters responded, led by battalion chief James Rhone and were able to get the fire under control within minutes. DFRD cleared the scene at 1:01 Friday morning.

Witnesses gave statements to Demopolis Police Department personnel on the scene leading to the arrest of Emmett Oris McNider II, 29, of Sweet Water, described as the estranged husband of the tenant. He was sighted at Parr’s Chevron and was arrested at 3:19 Friday morning, charged with arson. He is currently in custody at the Marengo County Jail.

“It was a very good effort, with both departments working in unison,” said DFRD chief Carl Johnson. “Chief Tim Williams and his personnel did a great job getting evidence and investigating the incident.”

Johnson estimated the property loss at $30,000 for McNider’s residence and $10,000 to the other side of the duplex.

The duplex is owned by Fred Speed of Dumas, Ark., who said he needed more information regarding the damage before he decided how to proceed.