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Friday, November 20, 2009

Firefighter charged with arson

PARKERSBURG - A 19-year-old volunteer firefighter with Pond Creek Volunteer Fire Department was charged with arson Thursday after allegedly setting a brush fire in a field off California Ridge Road, near Belleville, early Tuesday afternoon.

David Keith Richards, 402 Toppins Grove, Murraysville, lit a pile of trash on fire with motor oil in a field near California Ridge Road and the fire spread several feet into the grass, said Lt. Shawn Graham with Wood County Sheriff's Office.

Richards called 911 after setting the fire, officials said.

When questioned by Graham and Assistant State Fire Marshal Brad Hartley, Richards confessed to setting the fire deliberately to give his fire department something to do, said Graham.

Pond Creek Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Rhodes said he believed the brush fire burned about three square feet. Pond Creek Volunteer Fire Department officials did not respond to the brush fire Tuesday and did not know many details about the incident, he said.

Richards was arraigned before Wood County Magistrate Donna Jackson at 10 p.m. Thursday and released on $25,000 bond.


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