Jimmy Steed had been arrested Friday and remains in the Calhoun County Jail with bond set at $100,000. Piedmont firefighters were called to fight a blaze at his Hughes Road home, south of town along Alabama 21, at 12:10 Tuesday morning.
Piedmont Fire Chief Mike Ledbetter said the house was “fully engulfed with flames through the roof” by the time firefighters arrived at 12:16. The firefighters were able to contain the fire at that time, but they were unable to extinguish it. Hotspots re-ignited around noon Tuesday.
Ledbetter said fire can smolder in a house fire long after the original blaze is brought under control.
“The roof of the house is gone and it started to rain very heavy,” Ledbetter said. “The weather may help us.”
The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the cause of the fire, Chief Deputy Matthew Wade said. Wade and Ledbetter said they did not yet know the cause.
Wade said deputies also are investigating drug activity that may be linked to Steed’s recent charges.
Wade added that three people, James Patrick Burrows, Carla Cook Fuqua, and Steed’s wife, Karen Steed, have gone missing within walking distance of Steed’s old home, less than a mile from the one that burned Tuesday.
That home burned in August 2002, Ledbetter said. The event occurred shortly after authorities gained permission from new owners to search the residence, Wade said.
Karen Steed has been missing since 1997. Burrows was last seen leaving Steed’s home on a motorcycle Aug. 23, 1990. Fuqua’s body was found in a wooded area near Steed’s homes in December; she’d been missing since 2009.
“We are investigating other things and working on cold cases of the past,” Wade said.
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LGaddy_Star.