Sgt. Dennis Hamm said the alarm was given at 12:44 p.m. When he arrived, Hamm found the building engulfed in flames, with the Roan Mountain and Hampton volunteer fire departments on the scene.
Shortly after Hamm arrived, he said Blackwell returned to his residence. Blackwell said he had left only a short time before. He said there was no electricity and the wood stove in the living room was warm. Rainbolt was on the scene before the fire and said he was cutting wood a short distance from the residence. Rainbolt said he noticed smoke and attempted to rescue items from the residence by going in the front door, but was unsuccessful. He then used his truck to tow a Nissan Exterra from the driveway to prevent it from being damaged in the fire.
The sheriff’s department fire investigator, Sgt. Travis Ludlow, came to the scene later in the day after the fire had cooled. He said Blackwell began digging through the debris and determined that a Remington rifle, a Marlin rifle and a hunting bow were missing from the house.
As he continued his investigation, Ludlow went to Raymond Chambers Lane, where he spoke with Jeff Simerly. Ludlow reported that Simerly had told him Rainbolt had been to his house about the time of the fire and asked if he could store some items with him because he was having trouble with his girlfriend.
Simerly said he knew it was shortly after the fire broke out because he remembers the fire trucks going by. Simerly showed Ludlow the items he had stored for Rainbolt. Ludlow said the items included two rifles and a bow that matched the description given by Blackwell. He said there was also a bag containing assorted hunting equipment.
Ludlow then charged Rainbolt with aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000. He is scheduled to answer the charges in Sessions Court on Dec. 31.