Ex-Firefighter, Fiancee Charged With Latest of 70 Virginia Shore Arsons

Couple suspected in majority of 77 arsons

A former volunteer firefighter and his fiancee were arrested Tuesday and are suspected of setting a majority of the 77 arson fires on Virginia's Eastern Shore over the past five months.

Tonya S. Bundick, 40, and 38-year-old Charles R. Smith III were arrested early Tuesday after another vacant residence was set ablaze Monday night, Virginia State Police said. They were charged in connection with that fire.

Smith also goes by the alias Charles Applegate. He is a former captain of the Tasley Volunteer Fire Department.

Court records in Smith's case that were filed Wednesday indicated he confessed to setting at least the Monday fire.

Some of the fires do not appear to have been set by the pair, state police spokesperson Corinne Geller said.

They were arrested during a traffic stop shortly after midnight near a vacant residence that had been set on fire in the town of Melfa. The fire was reported at 11:40 p.m. Monday. It was quickly extinguished and damage was minimal.

Bundick is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday. A similar hearing for Smith was postponed until May after he retained an attorney.

Smith's attorney was not available and his office said he would not comment.

Bundick and Smith live in Parksley, a small community where the first of 77 deliberately set fires was lit.

The fires were set in abandoned buildings, and no one was hurt in the fires.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us