Tennessee authorities filed arson charges this week against four volunteer firefighters in connection with two house fires in Bell Buckle.
Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce said all suspects have confessed to parts of the charges against them.
“They admitted to burning those (houses) because they were empty,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff’s department worked with the State Fire Marshal’s Office during the investigation, which also included fires at two barns owned by The Webb School, a coed boarding school.
Those charged were Alan Vinson, 18; Justin Haskins, 18; John Bussard, 18, and Andrew Goodrich, 20.
“Our concern was that eventually, somebody might be killed, either a firefighter on the way to the fire or somebody in the fire, and the fires seemed to be getting bigger and more frequent,” Boyce said.
Bell Buckle Volunteer Fire Chief Ronnie Lokey declined to speak about the investigation.
“The mayor and fire chief want the citizens of Bell Buckle to know that we have a group of committed and caring firefighters,” Mayor Dennis Webb said in a statement. “Our firefighters know that it is vital that we maintain the confidence and trust of the community. Due to these recent events, the fire department’s commitment to the community has strengthened even further.”
Fires at other buildings during the past year were also investigated, but the men were only being charged with the two house fires, Boyce said.
Information from: Shelbyville Times-Gazette, www.t-g.com
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