Two West Virginia Probationary Firefighters Arrested on Arson Charges

CABELL COUNTY ( WCHS, JEFF MORRIS)– Two West Virginia probationary firefighters were arrested on arson charges, the state Fire Marshal’s Office said.

Allen Paul Black, 19, of Salt Rock and Landy Michael Chapman, 18, of Ona were arrested Tuesday stemming from a series of wildland fires and one structure fire set in Cabell County over the past several months, according to a news release.

Both were initially charged with one count of setting fire to wildlands, and one count of falsely reporting an emergency. More charges are pending.

Fire marshals said the 2018 incidents being investigated are:

• A Jan. 26 wildland fire in the 400 block of Chapman Road in Salt Rock;

• A Feb. 4 false 911 call reporting a wildland fire on River Road in Salt Rock;

• A March 5 wildland fire at Upper Toms Creek and Fudges Creek Road in Ona;

• A March 5 wildland fire at 5500 block of McComas Road in Salt Rock;

• A Feb. 6 structure fire in the 300 block of Fudges Creek Road in Ona;

Both men were arrested in Cabell County by state fire marshal’s investigators and members of the West Virginia Division of Forestry. Fire marshals said Black and Chapman admitted to investigators their involvements in two of the crimes.

In another case, two Fairmont residents were arrested Wednesday in connection with several May 2017 fires. Investigators in Marion County arrested Julie Slate, 38, and Dennis Boyce, 46, on felony first-degree arson, burglary and conspiracy to commit arson charges, the fire marshal’s office said.

The two Fairmont residents are accused of setting three separate fires in May 2017 at the home of an individual who was in a nursing home at the time of the fires.

Following their arrests on Wednesday, Slate posted a $30,000 bond, while Boyce remains at the North Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $250,000 cash or surety bond.

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