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Alabama man arrested for starting forest fires

An Alabama man was arrested by West Virginia State Police after allegedly starting multiple brush fires in the area of Wiseman Road and Glory Barn Road in Monongalia County. 

According to Mathias Gomez-Tschrnko with River Road Volunteer Fire Department, firefighters and the West Virginia Department of Forestry were dispatched to a brush fire at the intersection of the two roads at about 5:15 p.m. on Monday. 

While en route to the call, dispatchers advised they had received multiple calls about a shirtless man, who would later be identified as Christopher Robert Ledoux, 37, of Orange Beach, Ala., actively lighting fires to mailboxes and forest brush in that area. 

Upon arrival, Gomez-Tschrnko said responders found a mailbox completely burned and multiple spots of the forest actively burning. While trying to extinguish those fires, responders saw Ledoux continue to set more fires in the forest despite the firefighters’ requests to stop. 

Trooper First Class F.E. Little III with the state police responded and found Ledoux on Wiseman Road setting fires down a driveway. 

Little said when he approached Ledoux and told him to stop, “the defendant turned around and just looked at [the officer].” He then turned around and kept walking down the driveway. 

After repeatedly refusing to comply, the trooper said they had to forcefully take Ledoux to the ground to place him into custody. 

Little spoke with several witnesses who reported seeing Ledoux set a mailbox and the ground on fire. During the investigation, the officer found Ledoux had set eight different fires in the area. 

Ledoux is charged with arson — setting fire to lands — and was arraigned in Monongalia County Magistrate Court. Bond was set at $15,000. As of Tuesday afternoon, he was in custody at North Central Regional Jail. 

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