Fire marshal: Caldwell County arson suspect set 6 fires at family homes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Caldwell County fire marshal said an arson suspect is charged with intentionally setting multiple fires at family homes, with six blazes reported in less than 11 years.

Grecia Barlowe is accused of trying to kill her parents and setting their home on fire.

On Monday, Barlowe was indicted on first and second-degree arson charges, insurance fraud and two counts of attempted murder.

Officials said Barlowe set her parents’ home on fire on May 23 on Log Cabin Place, east of Lenoir with both of them asleep inside.

They said Barlowe also set her own home on fire south of Granite Falls last summer.

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That fire did tens of thousands of dollars in damage as firefighters tried to bring it under control with temperatures soaring near 90 degrees.

Fire Marshal Kevin Brown said state investigators had been looking into fires at homes Barlowe had lived in since 2007. Firefighters responded to the first one in November 2007, a second fire started in a dryer a week later and a third fire burned the house down that month. In 2012, 2018 and 2019 crews responded to additional fires at two homes that the Caldwell County Sherriff's Department thinks were intentionally set.

Channel 9 spoke with Barlowe's father about the fires, and he doesn’t believe his daughter would try to kill him and his wife.

"I just don't believe she done it. I don't think she's capable of that," Gregory Fox said.  "We love our daughter. We don't think she done it."

The arson at Barlowe’s parent’s home happened less than a year after deputies and the SBI investigated the second set fire at her home on Grace Chapel Road near Granite Falls.

Barlowe is also charged with insurance fraud. Deputies said they believe Barlowe did this for the insurance money.

Arsons put firefighters in unnecessary danger.

“There are flammable liquids,” said Aaron Haas, with the Grace Chapel Fire Department. “Floors can collapse, and you take us away from possibly another call in the area.”

Barlowe is locked up and has a bond of $500,000 for the fires and $200,000 for the insurance fraud charge.

“I applaud the cooperation of all agencies involved in working on this case, and I am also very appreciative of the hard work from each member of the investigation,” Caldwell County Sheriff Alan C. Jones said.