Columbus man sentenced to 10 years after Victory Drive serial arson conviction

Published: Oct. 23, 2023 at 11:06 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2023 at 6:54 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus Fire and EMS responded to eight vehicle fires in the Victory Drive area between June and July.

Jimmy Geddis, Jr. was arrested and taken into custody on Aug. 11 for allegedly starting the fire and is now faced with eight felony charges by the Columbus and EMS Investigation Unit.

“They collected a lot of video evidence with the suspect at the time. They were also able to track his travel patterns as well.”

The unit is made up of three primary investigators with three additional backup investigators.

“Fire investigators, they go through 160 hours of fire investigative training, and then they go through basic law enforcement school. That’s 408 hours, I think.”

According to Division Chief John Shull, fire investigators have the same authority as police officers, but their main focus is determining the cause of fire incidents and if arson is involved.

“They’re looking at fire effects, and they’re looking at fire patterns. And they’re looking at any other types of evidence. They’re collecting evidence. A big party, our evidence collection is capturing photos.”

Shull says after collecting evidence, investigators determine if the evidence is linked to another fire.

“I don’t really know what the reason was for Mr. Geddis to start their fire,” said Shull. " To be honest with you, our guys are just more concerned on making sure that we remove someone who’s engaging in arson activity from the streets. So that we do everything that we possibly can to protect the community.”

Shull wasn’t able to go into specific details about exactly how they collect evidence in suspected arson cases. He didn’t want to give away any trade secrets. Geddis was sentenced to ten years in prison with at least two to serve.