10 volunteer firefighters arrested in North Carolina arson investigation

Robeson County Sheriff Ken Sealey making the announcement about the firefighter arrests. (WPDE)

ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WPDE) - Ten volunteer firefighters have been arrested and charged in connection with several arsons in Robeson County, North Carolina, according to Robeson County Sheriff Ken Sealey.

Sealey said the firefighters intentionally set fires to abandoned homes and woods, mainly in the Fairmont community.

"Some fires, we had like three and four fires on one road, woods fires, abandoned," explained Sealey. "That's just not, that's real suspicious."

He added these arrests come after a yearlong investigation into these suspicious fires.

"It's probably several other individuals that could be arrested and possibly charged with this as well. This is just the first stage of the investigation. It's a large scale investigation, with this many firefighters arrested at one time," said Sealey.

A Maxton police officer and North Carolina Department of Corrections officer have also been charged in connection with the special investigation.

Sealey said the arsons cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, but didn't give a specific dollar amount.

"Over hundreds of thousands with all of the property damage, the house damage, the woods fires plus, what it costs for the firefighters going up and down the road," said Sealey.

We asked several firefighters charged if they were guilty of the crimes, but most didn't respond. However, one man called it fraud and wouldn't comment any further.

Sealey released the following statement regarding the investigation:

"On July 10, 2018, 10 firefighters were arrested as a result of a 1 year investigation which involves numerous agencies including: Robeson County Sheriff's Office, State Bureau of Investigation, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the North Carolina Forestry Service. The firefighters were involved in a conspiracy over a two year time period to set numerous with woods and abandoned structure fires," Sealey said in a statement. The firefighters are volunteer firefighters at Fairmont and Orrum Fire Department within Robeson County. There are approximately 90 arson related charges in the investigation with more charges and individuals expected."

He said the actions of these firefighters cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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