Update: Suspect in custody after allegedly starting house fire; fake explosives found in home

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A man is behind bars after deputies say he started a house fire and then stole a firefighter's vehicle.

A suspect is in custody after allegedly setting a DeFuniak Springs home on fire Friday morning. (WALTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

It happened just before 6 A.M. Friday morning on Smith Road in DeFuniak Springs.

Investigators say a Liberty Volunteer Firefighter responding to the fire left his vehicle running. That's when the suspect, William Larrick II, ran out of the house covered in blood and escaped with the vehicle.

Walton County Sheriff's officials say they had to evacuate one home on Smith Road after suspicious materials were found inside the home.

Walton County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Corey Dobridnia spoke with us via phone Friday afternoon. "When the fire marshal's office got on the scene, they found some things in the home that represented some suspicious materials, and the bomb squad was called out," Dobridnia said. "What they determined was basically fake C-4 was found inside the house."

Again, law enforcement officials said the suspicious materials were found to be fake explosives.

Larrick is facing multiple charges, including Grand Theft Auto. Additional charges are pending.

The incident is still under investigation.
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ORIGINAL STORY: November 29, 2019 (11 A.M.)

A suspect is in custody after deputies say they believe he may have started a house fire and stolen a volunteer firefighter's vehicle in Walton County.

They say deputies responded to a home on Smith Road in DeFuniak Springs after reports of a fire.

According to deputies, a Liberty volunteer firefighter arrived on scene first and left his car running while he got out to check on the fire.

That's when they say a man covered in blood ran out from the home, stole the car and left.

The suspect, later identified as William Larrick II, 38, was found on Royale Street in DeFuniak Springs and taken into custody.

Deputies and Walton County Fire Rescue personnel are staying around the house waiting for the bomb squad to arrive.

This is a developing story and we will keep you updated with the latest as we learn more.

Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.


This home on Smith Road in DeFuniak Springs was the scene of a lot of police activity Friday morning. (WALTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)
William Larrick II was arrested by authorities Friday after allegedly starting a house fire on Smith Road in DeFuniak Springs. (WALTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)