The Greenville Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime, while the FBI announced plans to launch a civil rights probe.
Smith, who was previously homeless, was staying with his friend and her two granddaughters, ages 8 and 10. He was awakened from his sleep when he heard a loud noise in the middle of the night. He told reporters he believed someone was breaking in, but then he saw smoke.
The New York Daily News reports that Terry, 8, was the sole survivor of a suspected May 2013 arson at her home in Schenectady, New York, where she lost her father and three of her siblings. Safyre was burned over 75 percent of her body and lost her right arm.
New Life Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis became the fifth Black house of worship to burn in the past 10 days when it was scorched in a blaze Saturday, throwing arson investigators into high gear in an effort to determine who is setting fire to the religious structures.