LAGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – The LaGrange Police Department has arrested a man after a fire was started in a hospital room at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center on Monday.

According to police, James E. Smith III was arrested on June 27, 2022, at the hospital, located on Vernon Road, following reports a fire had been set in a patient’s room.

Officials said when police arrived at the hospital at 1:52 a.m., officers assisted hospital security and staff in subduing Smith. Police said Smith had purposely started several small fires in a patient room.

Prior to being taken into custody, police said Smith told the hospital staff that he had both a gun and a bomb. Additionally, he said the GBI needed to be notified because this was a hostage situation.

Police said Smith then turned on the in-room oxygen system and continued to light fires in an attempt to cause an explosion in the hospital.  

Smith has been charged with the following:

  • Aggravated Assault
  • Arson 1st Degree
  • Terroristic Threats (Felony)
  • Battery

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the LaGrange Police Department at 706 883-2603 or Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706 812-1000.