Insurance and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens announced today that an arrest has been made in connection with four house fires spanning three months in Lanier County. Johnny Ray Friskey, 43, of 30 Pear Drive, Lakeland, was arrested this morning and charged with 4-counts of first-degree arson. Friskey, a Lanier County Volunteer Firefighter, allegedly set fire to three unoccupied homes in the City of Lakeland between July and September of this year. One of the homes, located at 66 Maple Drive was set on fire twice by Friskey. Investigators believe Friskey set the fires to gain favor within the community. He is currently being held in the Lanier County Jail.
Commissioner Hudgens' Fire Investigation Unit was assisted in the investigation by the Lanier County Sheriff's Office. First-degree arson is a felony, with a penalty of one to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.