BUCKHANNON – Of the 10 fires the Buckhannon Fire Department responded to in August, three were deemed suspicious, city fire chief J.B. Kimble told Buckhannon City Council at its bimonthly meeting Thursday.
“In August, we had 10 fires, and as the season goes on, that will hit an uptick,” Kimble said. “Three of the 10 were suspicious, and the [state] fire marshal’s office was in and investigated one of them … and an individual confessed on the scene, and he was arrested on the spot. Two others are still under investigation and pending arrests.”
Kimble said the most recent suspicious fire occurred Friday, Aug. 30 at a residence on the Spruce Fork Road. According to a previous story, scanner traffic indicated an individual was spotted fleeing the scene of the fire as firefighters and first responder agencies arrived.
Kimble told council one of the BFD’s career firefighters had been injured in that fire and would be off work for a minimum of two weeks.
“Upon arrival, there were cars in the driveway, there was normal living stuff on the porch, so you have to assume that maybe somebody’s in there, so our crews made an interior search, and in that process, he fell through the floor, got his leg stuck, twisted his leg pretty bad, so he’s still off work today,” Kimble explained.
If the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office determines the cause was arson and identifies a responsible party, that person will likely face two charges, Kimble said.
“In that investigation, if somebody is arrested, they will be arrested also for assault on a first responder (in addition to arson) if arson is proved,” he said.
Kimble said the first suspicious fire of the month happened during the first week of August at a residence on the Wentzford Road near the Upshur-Barbour county line in Warren District.
“It was in Warren District, but it was a suspicious fire also,” Kimble said following Thursday’s meeting.
At an Aug. 16 fire that engulfed a residence on the Old Elkins Road, Hunter Ray Shreve, 23, allegedly told an Upshur County sheriff’s deputy he’d set the house on fire with a lighter and was subsequently arrested for first-degree arson, according to a previous story.