Man charged with Matoaka fire waives time-limit on hearing - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Man charged with Matoaka fire waives time-limit on hearing

Brandon Coomes Brandon Coomes

MERCER COUNTY (WVVA) The man charged in connection with the devastating fire in Matoaka has waived the time-limit for his preliminary hearing.

Brandon Coomes, 29, of Lashmeet is charged with entering without breaking and third degree arson.

Under law, the preliminary hearing must be held within 10 days if the suspect is in jail. Since Coomes waived that time-limit, he will get a new hearing date. That date has not been scheduled.

The fire started around 11:20 on Friday, August 8 at a former hotel that had been converted into apartments. It quickly spread, destroying four structures and damaging another. Matoaka Police Chief John Sommers estimates the total cost of the fire is $4 million dollars-including damage caused and the massive response effort. The fire displaced three families and two businesses. At one point, firefighters from 14 area departments were on the scene. A section of Route 10 had to be shut down for hours.

Chief Sommers say Coomes accidentally caused the fire, but panicked and ran off instead of calling authorities.

Coomes is currently being held in Southern Regional Jail on a million dollars bond.


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