By Beth Lawrence
A Sylva woman was last week arrested for arson following two separate incidents at Eastwood Mobile Home Park off East Cope Creek Road.
Haley Michelle Shook, 25, of Sparks Road, was arrested for two counts of felony second-degree arson and one misdemeanor count of resisting a public officer.
Authorities believe Shook deliberately set two separate fires – one the night of May 21 and on the evening of June 1, according to Major Shannon Queen of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
“During both fires the inside of the trailer was set on fire causing severe damage to the structure both times,” Queen said. “During the first fire, damage as a result of fire had been contained and left other rooms with smoke damage. During the second fire, rooms that were not damaged by the first fire were damaged.”
The May 21 fire was reported by a next-door neighbor in the small trailer park where mobile homes are set closely together.
“It’s on fire right now,” the 911 transcript reads. “We were outside smoking, and the neighbor left, and there was a candle in the house, and I think it fell. The neighbor literally just left.”
The callers stood outside to flag down the fire department and direct them to the trailer on the backside of the park inside the Sparks Road loop.
Shook was a resident in the home. Queen did not disclose what led up to the fires being set and said Shook has not suggested a motive.
“The fires are considered to be arsons, and the sheriff’s office is working both cases in cooperation with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation,” he said. “The fires were set using what appeared to be an accelerant poured within the trailer on both occasions. Shook remains the only suspect in both cases.”
Second-degree arson is considered a serious, mid-level felony in North Carolina.
A fire is deemed second degree arson in North Carolina when it is believed to be deliberately set, but no person was inside the structure when it burned. It is a class G felony.
If convicted Shook could face up to 3 ½ years in prison.
In 2018 Shook received a suspended sentence for assault on an officer or state employee.
Shook was released in lieu of a $30,000 bond.