Sheriff: Volunteer firefighter admits to setting 3 Greene Co. fires

(WBIR) A volunteer firefighter is one of two people accused of setting a series of fires this week in Greene County.

Greene County deputies arrested Thurman Jones and Cameron Waters Jr. for arson on Thursday. Waters is a member of the Newmansville Volunteer Fire Department, and his father is the department's chief.

"It's very unusual. We have you know, isolated incidents, fires, but to have three, especially in the same area, I mean certainly sends up a red flag," said Sheriff Steve Burns, with the Greene County Sheriff's Department.

Burns said the men confessed to setting two barns and a home on fire between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The sheriff said while investigators were at the scene of a barn fire on Smithtown Road, a fire sparked at a vacant home on Fodderstack Mountain Loop.

A third fire destroyed a 20 by 25 foot barn on Campbell Road. Smoke was still fuming from debris Friday afternoon.

"We canvased the area and got a description of a silver pick up truck that was seen in the area during the time of the fire but it hadn't been seen there before," said Burns. "Wednesday night, we had surveillance out all night and one of the state agriculture crimes unit officers working with us saw a truck that fit the description , got the tag number and ran it down, and we developed information based on the owner of that vehicle."

The sheriff said he did not know why Waters and Jones started the fires.

"We have terrific volunteer fire departments and in no way would I want this to cast a shadow on them because they do an outstanding job," said Burns. "But you know, sometimes, especially the younger ones, maybe it's excitement, who knows."

In 2011, a Campbell County volunteer firefighter admitted to starting three fires.

In 2012, a Roane County volunteer firefighter confessed to setting his house on fire and starting eight other fires.


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