Aid firefighters charged with arson

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 8, 2002

Five Lawrence County men, three of them volunteer firefighters, have been charged with arson for allegedly torching bales of hay in a field.

Lawrence County prosecutor J.B. Collier

identified them as Tony Townsend, 18; Jeffrey Blakeman, 21; and Charlie Adams, 23, all of Willow Wood and all Aid Township volunteer firefighters; Randy Stanley, 19, of Patriot, and Michael Adams, 21, of Willow Wood.

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The men have been charged with fourth-degree felonies which carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison, plus a $5,000 fine and restitution.

"We see people in positions of trust do things against that trust and it can give all firefighters a bad name," Collier said. "They knew better."

Collier said the incident occurred late last Tuesday or early last Wednesday. The fire did not spread. Collier said the men have not been arrested, but will receive a summons to appear in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. A court date has not been set.

It is not known what the motivation was for starting the fire. The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshal's Office investigated the incident.