Arrest made for fire, vandalism in RiverCamps community

Suspect allegedly involved in previous incident in April
New details in the fire at the River Camps subdivision clubhouse - the Bay County Sheriff's Office has arrested a local man for arson in the case.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 8:09 AM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - An arrest has been made in connection to the fire and vandalism of the clubhouse in the subdivision.

According to Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford, Bay County Fire Services responded to the fire at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday to find the building fully engulfed.

Bay County Sheriff’s Office joined officials once they confirmed it was a case of arson.

After further investigation, deputies say they identified a suspect as 23-year-old Carter Adair, who was also reportedly involved in an incident on April 18 at the community pool and pool house within RiverCamps off Highway 388.

In the previous incident, Adair had allegedly spray painted a table in the patio area and removed items from cabinets in the guest services area. A gas stove was also pulled away from the wall. The area was soaked with a liquid chemical from the fire suppression system. Silverware was reportedly stuffed into the microwave and had burn marks; a fire extinguisher had been sprayed in the men’s bathroom covering the entire area. A grill outside was left on where the smell of gas was detected. A second gas grill was disconnected and pushed into the pool, as was a ping pong table, outdoor chairs and cushions, and a trash can.

When search warrants were executed for Adair’s home on Tuesday, a blanket and articles of clothing were found that were similar to ones worn by a figure capture on security video at the pool house and buildings.

Adair is facing charges of felony criminal mischief greater than $1,000, and felony arson.

“Arson is a costly and dangerous crime that will not be tolerated in Florida,” Patronis said. “Our arson detectives worked diligently with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office to track down this alleged arsonist quickly and without incident. Thank you to Sheriff Tommy Ford and all of the law enforcement personnel who worked to bring this perpetrator to justice.”

Adair was taken to Bay County Jail and will face first appearance.

Bay County Chief of Emergency Services, Brad Monroe, has announced that the origins of the fire are suspicious.

We will continue to update you as we learn more.

A massive multi-unit commercial building fire in the RiverCamps community is under investigation. The buildings serve as a clubhouse with amenities for the residential community, which is located off of Highway 388.

The buildings were not occupied at the time, and there are no injuries, according to Bay County Emergency Services.

Fire rescue crews from the West End, Southport, and Sand Hills stations, as well as the Panama City Beach Fire Rescue responded.

Motorists may see smoky conditions in the area.