Arrest made in arsons

Tanya Smoot

A five-month investigation into four arson fires at two neighboring Front Royal residences ended Monday with the arrest of a town woman who lived in one of them.

The defendant, Tanya Wyvonne Smoot, 45, of 341 Osage St., was charged with four counts of arson after authorities took her into custody in Winchester.

Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie of the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services and Police Chief Norman Shiflett said in a written statement that Smoot was responsible for three of the fires at 339 Osage Street on Nov. 29 and Jan 25 and Jan. 27. The residence was unoccupied during the fires, all of which were quickly extinguished by firefighters.

Authorities linked a fourth fire at 341 Osage St. on April 10 to the three earlier fires. Sgt. Crystal Cline said the address is also Smoot’s rented residence.

Cline said Smoot had been a suspect in the case for some time and was present at 341 Osage St. when the fire started there.

“We had an extensive investigation, and it was pointing toward a specific suspect before the fourth fire was set,” Cline said, referring to Smoot.

Cline said Smoot received a mental evaluation after her arrest. The arsons did not appear to be motivated by money or a personal feud with anyone, Cline said.

“I couldn’t tell you a motive,” Cline said.

Cline said arson is an offense that carries a presumption of no bail for a defendant. The sentence for each of the four counts carries a sentence of between five years and life imprisonment.

Cline said there are no other suspects in the case.

Anyone with additional information about the fires is asked to call Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 636-3830 or Front Royal police Detective David Fogle at 635-2111.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com