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The Daily



10-07-03: Firefighter accused in arsons


A 20-year-old cadet firefighter has been charged with five counts of arson involving barn, house and field fires that occurred during the last year in the Buckland area.
John Kehoe of Wapakone-ta, a cadet firefighter with the Buckland Volunteer Fire Depart-ment, appeared in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He posted a $5,000 unsecured bond and was released on his own recognizance.
Kehoe, a cadet since 2001, is represented by Wapakoneta attorney John Poppe. A telephone conference is set for Oct. 23.
Auglaize County Prosecutor Ed Pierce, who knows the Kehoe family, requested a special prosecutor be appointed to the case due to conflict of interest. The case is being prosecuted by attorney Martin D. Burchfield of Van Wert County. Burchfield declined to explain the investigation that led to Kehoe’s arrest.
The investigation of the case was a joint venture between the Buckland Fire Department, the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.
Kehoe waived his right to have his case heard by a grand jury and is being charged under a bill of information. A bill of information, an alternative to an indictment, is a written accusation of crime signed by the prosecutor, charging a person with the commission of a crime.
Court documents allege that Kehoe is responsible for burning three barns, an unoccupied home and a wheat field.
The dates of the fires and the owners of the properties are as follows:
Sept. 14, 2002: A barn and hay storage owned by Bruce Baker, 08533 Ohio 197.
Jan. 4: A barn and hay storage owned by Marvin Zwiebel, 1788 Ohio 198.
Jan. 23: An unoccupied home at 18632 Ohio 198, owned by Trent Schrolucke.
April 5: A barn and hay storage owned by Harold Doering, 17570 Main Street Road.
July 17: A wheat field at 22488 Conant Road, owned by David Davis.
Damage to several of the structures was extensive, however, no injuries were reported while battling any of the fires.
Four of the arson charges are fourth-degree felonies, and one — relating to the wheat field — is a first-degree misdemeanor.
A cadet firefighter must be at least 14 years old and is prohibited from entering a burning structure or participating in a dangerous situation. Several fire departments in both Mercer and Auglaize counties have cadet firefighters who train alongside the more experienced rescue workers.


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