Man sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for Lake Mills arson

Published 9:50 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Lake Mills, Iowa, man who in May pleaded guilty to arson of a home and van in Lake Mills was sentenced in Winnebago County District Court Tuesday to up to 10 years in prison.

Larry Smit

Larry Dick Smit, 46, was convicted of one count of second-degree arson, a felony, tied to the fire at 102 N. Fourth Ave. W. in Lake Mills on April 7.

He is to serve this sentence consecutively with a June 9 sentence in Cerro Gordo County, in which Smit violated his terms of probation after being convicted of a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

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In that case, Smit must serve 365 days in jail. He has credit for 30 days previously spent in jail.

Smit has been in custody since he was arrested the same day of the fire, shortly after authorities received a call of the blaze on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Lake Street.

By the time firefighters arrived, the house and a Plymouth Voyager minivan were engulfed in flames.

Firefighters reportedly encountered Smit, who was described as “a man who was disturbed” and who would not let them fight the fire.

Court records state witnesses also reportedly saw Smit put gasoline on the van and then set it on fire.

After police arrived at the scene, Smit was subdued with a Taser and arrested.

Smit was a former tenant of the house who was living in the camper next to the home. He was reportedly remodeling the home.

He initially faced two arson counts.