Four firefighters charged with arson in series of fires in War, West Virginia

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Four McDowell County, West Virginia firefighters are arrested and charged with arson, after investigators say they started four separate fires in the War, West Virginia area last year.

On Thursday, the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office arrested Michael Click, 28, Cody Patterson, 26, Brandon Short, 22, and James Stutson, 40, and have charged each of them with first-degree arson and conspiracy.

The investigation into the four firefighters began on October 31, 2018, after fire investigators determined that a fire that damaged multiple buildings at an apartment complex in War had been intentionally set.

That fire started in the upstairs area of one apartment building, then spread to five other buildings in the complex.

Fire investigators were able to link the four firefighters to starting the following fires:

August 12, 2018 - Fire at a vacant, 2-story building in War, WV. All four firefighters are charged with starting this fire.

September 2, 2018 - Fire at a vacant home. Michael Click is charged with starting this fire.

October 29, 2018 - Second fire at the vacant, 2-story building in War that caught fire on August 12. Cody Patterson and Michael Click are charged with starting this fire.

October 31, 2018 - Fire at an apartment building in War, which spread to 5 other apartment buildings. Michael Click is charged with starting this fire.

All four firefighters were arrested on Thursday and are awaiting their arraignments before a McDowell County magistrate.

Investigators say additional charges are pending against the firefighters.

The investigation and arrests were made by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office.