CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office arrested four McDowell County firefighters on arson charges in connection with a series of intentionally set fires in the War area that spanned several months.
WVSFMO investigators charged Cody Patterson, 26, James Stutson, 40, Michael Click, 28, and Brandon Short, 22 with first-degree arson and conspiracy.
Investigators say they were called to a vacant apartment fire in War on October 31st, 2018, where it was determined that the fire was incendiary in cause. The fire had started in the upstairs area of the apartment building and had then spread to five other buildings.
Investigators say they then determined that three other fires in the War area had been intentionally set in the previous months and were all connected to the same individuals:
- On August 12th, 2018, a fire was set to a vacant two-story building. It is believed that all four of the individuals charged participated in setting fire to this building.
- On September 2nd, 2018, a second fire was set at a vacant home; Click is charged with this fire.
- On October 29th, 2018, the vacant two-story building from Aug. 12 was again set on fire; Patterson and Click are charged with this fire.
- On October 31st, 2018, the final fire set was the apartment fire in War, which started the investigation; Click is charged in this fire.
All four were arrested today and will be brought before a McDowell County magistrate.
More charges are pending.