Belcher Arson

Nearly two years ago, a Coffee County man pled guilty to setting a fire that destroyed several Enterprise businesses.

Now, because of a plea bargain agreement, the six counts against 26-year-old Daniel Belcher have been rolled into a second-degree arson conviction.

Belcher was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $600,000 in fines.

The April 2001 fire happened in a strip mall on Glover Avenue. The entire neighborhood was evacuated.

Officials were concerned about possible hazardous fumes from a pool supply company involved in the fire.

Authorities say Belcher has a long history of mental problems. Extended Web Coverage

Arson Facts

  • Arson is the second leading cause of death by fire in the United States, exceeded only by losses due to smoking.

  • Arson is the leading cause of property damage due to fires.

  • One of every four fires that occur in the U.S. each year, about a half million, are arson.

  • Each year, more than 90 percent of all civilian deaths in incendiary and suspicious structure fires occur in residential properties.

  • Direct property damage from arson totals more than $3 billion in a typical year. One out of every four dollars lost to fire is the result of arson.

  • Only 16 percent of arson offenses lead to arrest, and only two percent of those arrested are convicted.

  • Preliminary results of a new study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggest that between one-fifth to one-fourth of reported arson cases in major American cities are drug-related.

  • Arson is the leading cause of fire in houses of worship, accounting for 25 percent of church and related property fires.

  • 53 percent of all arsons are set by youths under age 18.

Source: contributed to this report