Columbia man charged in fire at parents' home

James Tharp

A 56-year-old Columbia man is charged with setting a fire at his parents' home. His parents escaped unharmed.

James K. Tharp was arrested the day after the Aug. 23 fire and was taken to Fulton State Hospital. He was taken to the Boone County Jail on Tuesday and charged with first-degree arson. Tharp lived in the home's basement.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports fire investigators determined the blaze started in a pile of clothes that was doused with an accelerant. A probable cause statement says fire investigators found evidence that Tharp intentionally set the fire.

Tharp's sister told investigators the relationship between her brother and parents deteriorated during the past year because of their differing political beliefs and other issues.

Court records do not indicate Tharp has an attorney.