Police arrest volunteer firefighter in connection with string of arsons in Leavenworth
Police say they now know who set 15 fires in one week in a small Indiana town: a volunteer firefighter.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police say they now know who set 15 fires in one week in a small Indiana town: a volunteer firefighter.
Authorities say the flames lit a trail of evidence right to his home.
For Ronald Binkley, it happened three times in the same week: someone set fire to his Leavenworth farm.
"Oh yeah, everyone was concerned around here," Binkley said.
"It wasn't real big, but once you get a hay bale on fire, it's there," he added. "It costs money to make hay."
Binkley said the fires had him understandably on edge.
"You don't sleep good," he said. "Because you don't know if he's going to burn your barn down next, or house or whatever."
Not event a vacant church on Beechwood Road was safe from smoke and flames.
"I think my Grandpa helped build that church," Binkley said. "I used to go there when I was a kid."
But on Wednesday, investigators say they found their arsonist: 27-year-old Brian Stonecipher, a volunteer fireman with the Leavenworth Volunteer Fire Department.
"He admits to us he was trying to cause a large fire and wanted the building to go fully up," said Fire Marshal Matt Wells. "He came back twice -- and that's pretty committed, to come back twice in the same day."
"If it wasn't for the community coming together and telling us about things they saw or heard -- that's what helped us close the case on this," Wells added.
We're told Stonecipher set fire to hay bails, fields and brush from his FedEx work truck, then circled back to help put out the flames.
The scene of the final fire, on Wednesday at about 4:30 p.m., was a blue home belonging to Stonecipher's parents. Wells said Stonecipher torched a bale of hay on the other side of a tree line and once again responded to the call.
But this time he was detained.
No one was ever hurt , there was no serious damage, and his parents could provide no answers to WDRB's Gilbert Corsey.
"Any idea why?" Corsey asked.
"I don't know, I don't know," said his mother. "We're still dealing with this ourselves."
For Binkley, the arrest ends a restless week.
"I'm glad they caught him," Binkley said. "It sounds like he needs help. Something's wrong."
He says the news has brought peace back to his country home.
"Last night I got a little bit of sleep," he said.
Stonecipher shared shared a WDRB story about the fires on his Facebook page days ago.
The fire marshal says Stonecipher is about the fifth volunteer fireman charged with arson in the state of Indiana this year.
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