Rockwell man charged with setting fire to ex-girlfriend’s home

Joshua Zachary Russell
Joshua Zachary Russell

ROCKWELL — Authorities say a Rockwell man may have been trying to send a message to his ex-girlfriend after he set fire to her home.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office charged Joshua Zachary Russell, 22, of the 2400 block of Wind Swept Way, with first-degree felony arson. Lori Barnett reported to authorities that someone set fire to her home, burning a portion of the mobile home. The part that was burned was where her 17-year-old daughter’s bedroom was located. The daughter was not home at the time, but had just come in following a date with her current boyfriend, a report said.

The daughter alerted her mother to the fire and Barnett was able to put the fire out with a hose before fire officials arrived. Barnett told investigators she was asleep on the other end of the home with her 5-year-old daughter.

Sheriff’s investigators said there was damage to the metal and brick facade of the home as well as burned places in the grass below. Officials said it appeared some type of accelerant was poured near the home.

The home did have $8,000 worth of fire damage, a report said.

The incident occurred Sept. 11 at the mobile home, located in the 2500 block of Wind Swept Way. Russell was charged Sept. 13 and remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

Authorities said Russell was one of a few suspects they developed early in their investigation.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: Facebook:

Notice about comments: is pleased to offer readers the ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Full terms and conditions can be read here.

Do not post the following:

  • Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
  • Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
  • Personal attacks, insults or threats.
  • The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
  • Comments unrelated to the story.