Screenshot of Yavapai County Sheriff's Office statement (Featured: Karson Nutter, accused arsonist)
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A teenage volunteer firefighter in Arizona is reportedly responsible for setting a series of fires, including those in an area cemetery and of some abandoned homes the young man considered to be "ugly."
Authorities in Coconino and Yavapai Counties started to suspect arson after several fires broke out in the Ash Fork area, less than an hour west of Flagstaff, in June and July. At least eight fires in the area had begun under what investigators thought were suspicious circumstances. Four of those fires damaged manmade structures — two abandoned homes were torched, and a Mobil service station in Ash Fork was struck twice. Two of the other four blazes occurred in a county-owned cemetery and were considered wildfires. The final two fires were wildfires along a forest service road.
During the course of their investigation, deputies from both counties began to zero in on a suspect: 18-year-old Karson Nutter, a volunteer firefighter with the Ash Fork Fire Department. According to a statement from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, Nutter gave deputies "deceptive and misleading information" in an attempt to thwart the arson investigation.
On Thursday, however, deputies reportedly managed to "tie" Nutter to a small fire. During a subsequent interrogation, Nutter confessed to starting at least seven of the eight fires in question, the YCSO statement claimed.
"ASHFORK ARSONIST CAUGHT: IS AN ASHFORK FIREFIGHTER," the YCSO tweeted on Friday.
Nutter gave several reasons for starting the fires, deputies said, including "boredom" and "chasing a thrill." He even supposedly said he set a fire to retaliate "against a former employer," though whether Nutter was ever employed at the gas station or cemetery is unclear. Finally, Nutter told investigators that he set the two abandoned homes ablaze "for being 'ugly,'" the YCSO statement said.
Nutter was arrested and booked into the YCSO Detention Center just after midnight on Friday morning. He faces three counts of arson of a structure or property, at least one count of aggravated criminal damage in connection with the cemetery fires, and five counts of false reporting to law enforcement. Coconino County officials are expected to file charges against him as well.
Northern Arizona firefighter accused of arsonwww.youtube.com
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Sr. Editor, News
Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.