by: Manuel Bojorquez Updated:
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - A tip from a Facebook user led investigators to four young men now charged in connection with a fire that destroyed a historic mill in Douglas County.
Twenty-year-old Christopher Roberts, of Douglasville, 18-year-old Adrian Bond of Shelbyville, Tenn., Terry Carringer, of Hiram, and 17-year-old Jeromie Hand, of Douglasville, will be charged with second-degree arson for the May 12 fire.
Fire crews found the 100-year-old General Western Cotton Mill on Bankhead Highway in east Douglasville engulfed in fire with flames shooting through the roof. The fire left nearby residents without fire. It smoldered for days.
"They were inhaling the air sprayer that you clean your computer with and getting high, and they set three or four fires inside the building," said Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller.
Miller said two of the suspects told detectives they did not plan to burn down the building, but that was exactly what happened as flames quickly tore through the abandoned mill. Built in 1897, some considered it an important historical marker for Douglasville, though it was in disrepair.
About a week after the fire, someone hearing “kids talking about the fire” sent a lead via Facebook to Douglasville Police Chief Chris Womac. Miller said investigators also have other evidence tying the group to the fire.
"Supposedly, they came back to the fire, and one of them made the comment on video he has on his phone that 'It's the best bonfire we ever built,'" Miller said.
The four men will also face a charge of interference with government property because the mill was owned by the city of Douglasville.