Five charged in rash of arsons

A rash of fires that kept firefighting crews busy since mid-October ended when four adults and one juvenile were arrested in a multiple agency serial arson sting, Nov. 17.

Capt. D. J. Corcoran of Knoxville Fire Department said KFD’s Arson Division, Knox County Fire Investigation Unit, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and Knox County Fire Marshals Office coordinated the operation which led to three adults and one juvenile being arrested at 4313 Strolling Dr., and a fourth adult being arrested an hour later at Tillery Ridge Apartments. 1716 Merchants Drive.

Dr. David Icove along with Shawn Short and Michael Patrick from Knox County Fire Marshals Office studied patterns of the arsonist and projected where and when the next fires might occur and an idea of the personality of such offenders.

Knoxville Fire Department’s Arson Division led by Chief Danny Beeler was made aware of several fires the weekend before Halloween, when fire crews answered several nuisance fires, (piles of leaves, scarecrows, and brush piles) from Friday at midnight till the daylight hours of Saturday morning.

The morning of Nov. 17, after spotting the last of three fires, Greg Lampkin from Knox County Fire Marshals Office along with Fire Officers Darrell Whitaker, Travis Kincaid, & Richard Gibson from Knoxville F.D. and Officer Aaron Allen from KCSO were able to follow the suspects vehicle to the Strolling Drive address where arrest were made.

Devon Marie Daugherty, 19, Shelby McMillan, 19, Mathew Dilbeck, 20, Derek Allen Belyea, 19, and a juvenile were arrested on multiple charges.

All of the fires were within a five mile radius of the offenders’ Strolling Drive address, and were becoming progressively more bold than the fire before.


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