Volunteer firefighters responding to a fire on FM 69 just north of Como Monday morning told deputies on the scene they believed the origin of the fire was suspicious, according to sheriff's Investigator Daniel Winn.
The first deputy on the scene described to investigators a gas trail leading to the hay bales.
“We had a pretty large grass fire and 46 hay bales caught on fire yesterday,” Winn said. “Not 20 yards from where the fire started, we had a juvenile show up on scene with bunker gear on and say he was in the fire academy.”
Winn said officers quickly learned the youth was not in the fire academy.
When volunteer firefighters on the scene began talking about calling an arson investigator in, Winn said the juvenile called 911 wanting to talk to a deputy about the fire.
“Long story short, his story didn't match what he told the firemen,” Winn said. “He changed the story two or three times about how he observed the fire and how he showed up.”
In talking with the youth, investigators Winn and Lewis Tatum learned the juvenile did set the fire.
“He also admitted he set a fire this previous Friday where, according to the calls, he observed three people in the woods in dark clothing running through the pasture after they set the fire,” the investigator said. “This was absolutely bogus. He admitted setting the fires using a gas can from behind his house and set it on fire using a lighter.”
The youth was taken into custody and transported to the Greenville Juvenile Detention Center and is facing two arson charges.
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