by Christopher HodappNineteen-year-old volunteer firefighter Leslie Roy Winchester has been arrested and charged in connection with eight arson fires that took place in June and July, in and around the town of Waverly, Tennessee.
One of the fires destroyed Cotton Valley Masonic Lodge 345 on July 6th.
From the New York Post on Sunday:
A Tennessee volunteer firefighter allegedly set a series of suspicious fires that burned a church, Masonic Lodge and other buildings in a small community over the past month.
Leslie Roy Winchester, 19, was arrested in connection to multiple fires that were set in the community of Waverly beginning in June, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said.
The first fire linked to Winchester happened last month in the 5500 block of Bakerville Road in Waverly, the TBI said. Four other suspicious fires occurred between July 1 and July 8 at various locations in the community.
Buildings damaged or destroyed in the fires included a church, Masonic Lodge, a former fire hall and a vacant house, according to authorities.
The town of Waverly is located about 65 miles west of Nashville, with a population of about 4,000. All of the fires occurred in remote, rural locations, which made pumping water to douse the flames almost impossible. One firefighter was transported to the hospital after suffering an arm and knee injury while fighting the flames at the Cotton Valley Lodge. The Glenwood Church of Christ on Pumpkin Creek Road was also destroyed.Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officers identified Leslie Winchester as the suspect in the case, and he was booked into the Humphreys County Jail on a $1,746,000 bond. Winchester is a volunteer firefighter, but no motive has been suggested by authorities. He was arrested and charged with three counts of arson, three counts of aggravated arson, six counts of criminal trespassing, and six counts of vandalism in excess of $10,000.
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