Firefighters arrested for intentionally setting fires

By: Janet Kim Email
By: Janet Kim Email

They were supposed to be helping put fires out, but instead, authorities say, they were intentionally starting them. Four volunteer firefighters in both Boyle and Marion counties are now facing charges, after being suspended earlier this month.

Their arrests, however, come after a lengthy investigation into several suspicious fires set in the counties over the past few months. Investigators say at least 7 fires were started here in the Gravel Switch community, and the people responsible are now behind bars.

The four accused are 19-year old Stephen Orberson, 22-year old Melinda Orberson, 24-year old James Tate and 21-year old Frederick Tate. They've now been charged with arson, burglary, wanton endangerment and criminal mischief charges, following an ongoing investigation of several suspicious fires in Marion and Boyle Counties over a period of several months.

Gravel Switch Fire Chief Larry Vaughn says the four use to be volunteers at his department but had been let go late last year. At least three of them then went to work for the Boyle County Fire Department.

Those in the Gravel Switch community say they took notice when the string of suspicious fires began. Now, finding out who may be involved is sending shock waves to a community.

Investigators tell 27 Newsfirst the suspects told them the motive was not money, rather the adrenaline rush of starting a fire and then fighting them.

The four suspects appeared in court for arraignment in Marion County Monday morning.


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