Joshua Joyce charged with setting fire to own home
By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Police have charged a 21-year-old resident of a home damaged by fire on Sept. 9 with arson, a Class A felony.
Police initially took Joshua Joyce, 21, of 92 Timber Lane into protective custody on Saturday after finding he had a 0.17 blood-alcohol content. They subsequently obtained a search warrant to gather evidence and, on Monday, brought the
arson charge against him. Deputy Police Chief Kristian Kelley said Joyce was being held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.
The fire call came in at 10:45 p.m. Saturday, bringing in units from Gilford and Laconia, according to Gilford Fire Chief Stephen Carrier. The yellow two-story residence was filled with smoke when firefighters arrived, and they found the fire on the second floor hallway and one bedroom.
Based on the amount of smoke, the responders called for additional manpower, but the firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control quickly using water from Gilford’s tanker.
Although the fire damaged only one room and the hallway, the rest of the second floor sustained heat and smoke damage, making the building uninhabitable, according to officials.
According to the affidavit submitted in support of the search warrant, police received a report of a suspicious person walking up Labonte Farm Road at 10:47 p.m. A resident of Labonte Road then called to report that an intoxicated Joyce had knocked on his door, and police detained him for public intoxication.
While in police custody, Joyce told officer Douglas Wall that he had poured gasoline and set his home on fire, according to the affidavit. Police report finding matches in his possession.
The Labonte Road resident in a sworn statement said Joyce had admitted to him that he had just burned down his house, saying no family member was present. The resident stated he could smell the odor of gasoline while speaking with Joyce.
Meanwhile, Carrier had found a gas can near the source of the fire and he put it into evidence.
“Based upon the foregoing facts and information, there is probable cause to believe that there is evidence of the crime of Arson,” Gilford Police Det. Kevin Baron wrote in the affidavit. “These facts include that Joyce admitted to Officer Wall and [the Labonte Farm Road resident] that he had set his house on fire, matches were found on Joyce’s person, Joyce’s residence (92 Timber Lane in Gilford, NH) was in fact on fire and a 1st alarm structure fire had been initiated, the source of the fire was in the upstairs portion of the home, and a gas can was found near the source of the fire.”
The search warrant allowed police to seize matches from the stairs and landing, clothes on top of the landing and in a back room, a carpet sample from the second-floor landing, and photographs of the interior and exterior of the home.
Both Carrier and Kelley expressed relief that no one was injured in the incident.
The homeowner is temporarily staying with a family member, according to Carrier.