Bluffton firefighter charged with arson, animal mistreatment

Robert Pairman
Robert Pairman

A Bluffton Township Fire District captain was charged with arson and animal mistreatment Friday in connection with a November 2008 fire at his home that killed one of his dogs.

Robert Pairman, 46, will stand trial Oct. 29 on both charges relating to the blaze that caused severe damage to his house at 10 Capers Creek Drive in Okatie. Pairman now lives on Pebble Beach Cove in Bluffton.

Bond for the arson charge was set at $15,000. Bond for the ill treatment of animals charge is $5,000, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center jail log. Pairman was released on his own recognizance, according to the log.

Sheriff's Office Capt. Bob Bromage said the cause of the fire was deemed suspicious. The subsequent investigation provided probable cause to arrest and charge Pairman, he said. That investigation is ongoing.

Bluffton Township Fire Chief Barry Turner declined comment on Pairman's arrest.

The fire consumed most of Pairman's 2,200 square-foot home. Three engines, a ladder truck, a service truck and a battalion chief spent 45 minutes battling the blaze, according to Bluffton Township Fire District firefighters who were at the scene.

Pairman and his family were not home at the time, although two dogs were. Only one escaped.