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Two more charged with setting fires

Published April 07. 2010 05:00PM

Two more Schuylkill County residents were arrested Tuesday and charged in connection with a series of arson fires that have occurred in several townships in the county late last year and early this year.

State police at Schuylkill Haven charged Charles Joseph Ferguson Jr. 19, of 11 East Ave., Schuylkill Haven, and Devin Charles Smith, 21, of 2201 W. Market St., Auburn, with counts related to the string of fires. There arrest brings to a total of six persons charged with setting the fires. A total of eight fires have been ruled arson with Ferguson and Smith charged in connection with two of the eight. Ferguson is a member of the Friedensburg Fire Company while Smith is not a volunteer firemen.

Troopers said they do not expect to make any more arrests in the case.

Both are charged with one count each of criminal conspiracy-arson, endangering persons, a felony one; conspiracy-arson, endangering buildings, a felony two; conspiracy-arson, reckless burning, a felony three; conspiracy-arson, risking a catastrophe, a felony three; failure to prevent or control fire (duty), a misdemeanor one; and failure to prevent catastrophe (duty), a misdemeanor two.

Smith is also charged with burglary, a felony one, and criminal trespass/simple trespassing, a summary.

The fires occurred in Washington, Wayne, West and East Brunswick townships.

Ferguson and Smith are charged in connection with a fire that occurred at 527Greentree Drive, West Brunswick Township, that occurred on Dec. 29, 2009, and at 51 Arrow Road, East Brunswick Township, that occurred on Nov. 16, 2009. Troopers alleged that they acted with two other participants previously charged for the fires.

Smith and Ferguson were arraigned Tuesday afternoon before District Judge James Ferrier, of Orwigsburg. Bail was set at $25,000 on each cash, which was posted by a bail bondsman, troopers said, and both were released from custody.

Also charged with setting the various fires were Shawn M. Hoy, 21, of Pine Grove, Jonathan D. Eichert, 21, of Orwigsburg, Matthew T. Dixon, 18, of Freidensburg, Justin Joseph Geiger, 19, of Orwigsburg. All, except Smith, were members of the Freidensburg Fire Company.

Troopers estimated about $2 million in damages because of the fires.

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