Ex-firefighter charged with arson in Buchanan County blazes - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Ex-firefighter charged with arson in Buchanan County blazes

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GRUNDY (WVVA) - A former firefighter has been charged with four counts of arson after allegedly starting fires that burned hundreds of acres in Buchanan County.

Shane Rife, 19, of Grundy is accused of starting the 375-acre Airport Mountain fire and the 65-acre Spruce Pine fire last month, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Rife had been with the Grundy Fire Department for less than a year.

Following is the full news release from the Department of Forestry:

Investigators with the Virginia Department of Forestry have charged a 19-year-old Grundy man with four felony counts of woods arson for fires he allegedly started last month in Buchanan County.

Shane Rife, a now-former member of the Grundy Fire Department, was charged with starting the 375-acre Airport Mountain fire and the 65-acre Spruce Pine fire. He had been a member of the Grundy Fire Department for less than one year.

Officials with the VDOF said community input was the key to being able to file charges in these cases.

John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection, said, “The success of this investigation is a credit to VDOF’s law enforcement officers, other law enforcement and fire-fighting cooperators in the area and the local community.”

VDOF’s investigative team worked with the local Commonwealth’s Attorney to build the case and perform a direct indictment in the two cases.

“Often when people observe and report something out of the ordinary such information can be invaluable in building a criminal case against a suspect,” a VDOF wildland fire investigator said. “We are indebted to everyone who cooperated in the effort to catch this individual because someone who starts a wildfire puts firefighters and area residents in danger.”

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