Residents devastated after man allegedly set fire to ex-girlfriend's DeLand home



DELAND, Fla. - A man set fire to his ex-girlfriend's house Saturday night, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies and Volusia County Fire Services were called to the home on North Street around 6 p.m.

A woman who lives in the home told investigators that Gregory Cunningham, 43, showed up looking for his ex-girlfriend, who also lives there.

The resident apparently told Cunningham that the ex-girlfriend no longer lived there and asked him to leave.

She said that’s when an angry Cunningham walked into the home and ordered the woman to get out.

The woman said when she ran from the home, she looked back and saw Cunningham holding a lit torch while pouring TIKI torch oil on some patio furniture.

Reports said she then saw smoke billowing from the home and Cunningham riding his bicycle down the street.

Deputies said the home was destroyed in the fire, which took crews hours to put out.

“It’s gone. It’s hallowed out. There’s a lot of memories there,” said the property owner Andy Kelly. 

When Cunningham’s ex-girlfriend arrived at the scene, she told deputies Cunningham has been trying to contact her since they broke up last week. She also said Cunningham has previously threatened to burn down her house, but she didn’t take him seriously. 

Neighbor Jim Bolen stopped by the house Sunday as Kelly and the tenant were picking up whatever they could salvage to bring them food and clothes.

“It’s just not right. It’s not right,” Bolen said.

Kelly said he found some relief in the rubble when a cherished set of family Bibles, stored in the garage, were found unharmed.

Deputies found Cunningham around 8:15 p.m. with a syringe containing liquid methamphetamine in his pocket.

He denied setting the house on fire.

Deputies said he became aggressive in the interview room, where he allegedly screamed at the investigator and threw a water bottle against the wall.

Cunningham was charged with arson, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting an officer without violence.

Deputies later added stalking charged after interviewing Cunningham's ex-girlfriend, who claimed that ever since she ended the relationship, he repeatedly went to her house, and called and texted her.

He was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in lieu of a $12,750 bond.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is assisting in the investigation.