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Police: Portal man shoots home, sets it on fire
Johnny Paul Finch

            A Portal man first fired upon his home with a shotgun Saturday, then set it on fire, investigators said.

            Johnny Paul Finch, 56, Rocky Ford Road, Portal, is charged with  first degree arson and obstruction, said Bulloch County Sheriff's Inv. Bill Black.

            Clito and Portal volunteer firefighters responded to a call around 8 a.m. Saturday and found Finch's home burning, said Portal Fire Chief Christopher Ivey.

            The blaze didn't cause a great deal of damage, and firefighters doused the flames using a garden hose, he said.

            But something suspicious prompted firefighters to call the state fire marshal, and he and Black determined Finch set the fire.

            "It was pretty obvious it was arson," Black said. "There were magazines stacked in two locations that had been set on fire." There was also evidence of lighter fluid having been used, he said.

            Ivey said there were two ignition points in a bedroom and " you could tell there was no way (the fire) could have jumped all the way across the room (from one point to the other). You could pretty much tell it was arson from the get-go."

            Black said Finch did not admit to arson nor give reasons he would have set his home on fire. He also shot the mobile home with a shotgun, he said. Investigators found shell casings at the scene as well as damage done by shotgun blasts.

            The obstruction charge stemmed from Finch resisting arrest, he said.

            Finch was taken to the Bulloch County Jail, where he remains without bond, according to jail records.

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