Deputies: Man took blowtorch to occupied Durham County home

From staff reportsDecember 19, 2013 

— A Rougemont man was charged with arson and attempted homicide after sheriff’s deputies say he took a blowtorch to a house in Durham County.

A resident of the unincorporated community of Bahama reported on Tuesday night that someone had just tried to light his house on fire. The man told deputies that he was inside his house on the 11000 block of Wilkins Road when he smelled smoke, according to the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

When the man went outside, he found Connie Huff Blanchard, 65, “attempting to ignite a house fire using a blow torch,” according to the sheriff’s office. The two then fought for control of the blowtorch; after the fight, Blanchard fled while the man tried to put out the fire, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies say they later found Blanchard at his home at 5123 Bahama Road in Rougemont, where he admitted to starting a fire at the man’s home. He had sustained two black eyes, among other injuries, the sheriff’s office said.

Investigators have learned that the men know one another, according to the sheriff’s office, but they haven’t disclosed a suspected motive.

Blanchard has been charged with first-degree arson and attempted first-degree homicide. He is being held at the Durham County Jail under $1million bail.

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