The arson was widely reported on by many legitimate journalists and news sources. As you can see by the police report it was reported as arson and confirmed by field investigators. Columbia arson investigators took additional photos of damage through out the house and his mattress, which was also set ablaze in the upstairs bedroom. Everything the editor owned was covered in soot and the shock of the incident led to an under estimation of cost of the damages by police in the initial report. Needless to say, Hutchins stayed with friends for weeks and initially resigned for his own safety. The stove, mattress, and ruined clothes have since been replaced and he was grateful for the outpour of community support.
Like this email from Judge Womble:
Dear Mr. Blake,
While it is easy for those of us whose house did not burn to say stay and stand your ground I do sincerely hope Corey Hutchins will reconsider and continue his noble profession.The day before Christmas 1981 my house burned to the ground. My wife, two children, poodle and I got out with nothing but the bed clothes we had on and I know from that experience how he must feel. Our fire was considered a possible arson and we still don't know for sure what the cause of the blaze was. I wanted to just disappear and therefore be completely sure of the safety of my family and myself. We didn't, however, and I now know we would have never felt safe even if we had been. My family stayed and faced that demon..........and we whole heartedly recommend he do the same. I know he really needs to do this for his own peace of mind.
Judge William H. Womble, Jr.
We are glad Hutchins ultimately listened to Judge Womble and returned to work months later.
After WLTX covered the story, you'll see from of the links below that the media attention spiraled out of control. Only a sick, pathetic individual would be jealous of the attention for such a traumatizing incident and we only regret that it has not helped catch the individual responsible. The overwhelming human interest and community support helped Hutchins & CCP get through it all. We can't say thank you enough!
Tips: Call The Columbia Police Department: (803) 545-3500
City Paper Editor Quits, House Set Ablaze:
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies reports
WLTX news coverage with video
and Editor&Publisher magazine
and Ted Rall
Trouble downloading WLTX video? Try this direct link.
The State Newspaper report appeared on metro cover 1/04/06 and the story hit the AP making it go national.