Arrest made in massive Watauga Co. fire that killed one person

- The Watauga County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday they made an arrest in connection to a massive fire that killed one person. 

Benjamin Draughon Williford was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, arson and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, deputies said. 

The fire occurred at 5:30 a.m. Friday, August 12 at a residence located at Valle Landing, 3657 US Highway 194 South in Sugar Grove. 

RELATED: Body found in rubble after 7-alarm fire in Watauga County

Multiple units responded to the scene. Upon arrival, fire crews saw the structure completely engulfed in flames and was destroyed.

Since August 12, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, the Watauga County Fire Marshal’s Office, Boone Fire Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have continued to investigate the fire.

Numerous interviews were conducted by the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Watauga County Fire Marshal’s Office with witnesses, owners of the buildings and community members to gather information about the fire.

As a result of the interviews and investigation into this incident the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office in consultation with the District Attorney’s Office arrested Williford and charged him with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury for the injuries to the occupants of the apartments and one count of first-degree murder for the death that occurred as a result of the fire.

Williford was served with the warrants and taken before the District Court of Watauga County and held without bond. He was given a probable cause court date of October 25, 2016.

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