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Ex-firefighter, girlfriend charged with setting 70 fires along Virginia shore

Staff Report • Apr 2, 2013 at 4:36 PM

ACCOMAC, Va. — A former volunteer firefighter and his girlfriend were arrested Tuesday and are suspected of setting a majority of the 70 arsons that have haunted Virginia's Eastern Shore for five months.

Charles R. Smith III, who went by the alias Charles Applegate when he served as captain of the Tasley Volunteer Fire Department several years ago, and his girlfriend, Tonya S. Bundick, were arrested early Tuesday, shortly after an abandoned residence was set ablaze.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the pair are believed to be responsible for most of the fires set since November. Others, Geller said, appear to have been set by someone else.

"We are confident that Bundick and Smith are responsible for the majority of the fires set," Geller said.

Bundick, 40, and Smith, 38, were charged with one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson, but Geller said more charges should be filed soon. Both are being held in Accomack County Jail without bond, pending court appearances Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether they had attorneys.

"This is really just the beginning of the end," Geller said, adding that the investigation into the fires continues.

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

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