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Upshur man arrested on arson charge

The Inter-Mountain photo by Amanda Hayes Hunter Ray Shreve, 23, was arrested and charged with arson in the first degree, a felony, for allegedly setting fire to his house at 4346 Old Elkins Rd. Friday morning.

BUCKHANNON — A man who allegedly set fire to his house early Friday morning was arrested at the scene after he allegedly confessed.

Hunter Ray Shreve, 23, was arrested for arson in the first degree, a felony, by Deputy Joseph D. Barcus with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department.

The Buckhannon Fire Department requested Barcus respond to the scene of an active structure fire at 4346 Old Elkins Rd., near the Elkins Road Public Service District, for traffic control at 5:11 a.m., according to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office.

After speaking to BFD Chief J.B. Kimble, Barcus noticed a man exit a woodshed beside the house. Barcus began speaking with the man, later identified as Shreve, who said, “It has been going on for weeks and driving me insane.” When Barcus asked Shreve what happened and how the fire started, Shreve said, “Yeah, I lit it with the (expletive) lighter, it drove me (expletive) insane.”

Barcus placed Shreve under arrest and spoke to the parents who stated that Shreve had came home earlier in the night and was acting unusual. Shreve told his parents he was going to set the house on fire but they did not believe him, according to the criminal complaint. Later in the night, Shreve woke them up to tell them the house was on fire.

Kimble said the BFD, Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department and Washington District Volunteer Fire Company responded to the structure fire initially.

“Through our data, the timelines for manpower is worse between 5 and 7 a.m.,” Kimble said. “Initially, response was slow. We had Adrian Volunteer Fire Department and Junior Fire Department alerted, especially when we found out somebody was missing.”

Adrian VFD then moved to cover the BFD.

Firefighters were initially told that a man, who was later identified as Shreve, was missing.

Firefighters Initiated a search using the training the firefighters received recently with thermal imaging cameras, according to Kimble.

“We quickly determined there was no one on the first floor, started a fire attack into the second floor to search and knocked the fire out,” he said. “The training we received was very crucial in the effectiveness of the search and the extinguishment of the fire.”

During that time, Barcus located and arrested Shreve at the woodshed which was about 30 feet from the residence.

Kimble said the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s office was called due to the fire being suspicious.

Barcus and Buckhannon Patrolman Sam Kraemer transported Shreve to the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department where Kraemer searched a backpack and discovered a driver’s license and Social Security card with a corner burnt off of each.

Magistrate Mike Coffman set bond at $125,000. Shreve was unable to be arraigned due to appearing to be under the influence of a controlled substance, according to the file.

If convicted, Shreve faces confinement in the state correctional facility for not less than two nor more than 20 years and is not eligible for parole for two years.

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