Oxford resident and Hollis Crossroads firefighter Michael Adrian Campbell, 19, was arrested Friday on charges of burning a vacant home, located off Cleburne County Road 24, during a Nov. 17 arson.
Tyler Moore, an 18-year-old Heflin resident who was once described by Hollis Crossroads Fire Chief Dan Hopkins as one of the volunteer department’s leaders, was also charged Friday, along with Campbell, for his alleged involvement in the Nov. 17 fire.
Additionally, Moore was arrested again on Monday morning in connection with a barn fire that occurred Aug. 3. The barn, located off Cleburne County Road 13, was still being used by its owners when it burned down, Deputy State Fire Marshal Tommy Wiggonton said.
The Monday arrest is the third arson investigators have attributed to Moore.
Two weeks ago, on Jan. 14, Moore and 18-year-old Heflin resident Kevin Johnson, a fellow Hollis Crossroads fire-fighter, were arrested on charges of burning down a historic, vacant home located off Cleburne County Road 844. That fire happened Jan. 6, and its subsequent investigation is what initially led State Fire Marshals and Cleburne County deputies to suspect Moore and the other Hollis Crossroads firefighters as the culprits behind the county’s re-cent uptick in arsons.
When Heflin, Hollis Crossroads and Micaville firefighters responded to that Jan. 6 call, they found the home’s wooden frame engulfed by flames, Wiggonton said.
Right away, firefighters knew they were looking at a case of arson because no one had lived in the house for years.
Firefighters immediately suspected Moore, Wiggonton said.
That’s because he arrived at the early-morning scene too quickly; Moore was there before anyone else, only three minutes after the 2:37 a.m. 911 call went out.
Fire marshals and Cleburne County deputies began their arson investigation by pulling a copy of the anonymous 911 call that originally alerted firefighters to the scene. They compared the voice from that call with Moore’s radio transmission three minutes later to tell firefighters he was on scene.
“It was the same voice … we put two and two together,” Wiggonton said.
Since then, investigators have interviewed Moore several times. During that interview, Moore confessed to burning down the 1850s-era home Jan. 6, Investigator Michael Gore said.
His confession led to the arrest of fellow volunteer firefighter Johnson, but officials wouldn’t elaborate on Johnson’s suspected role in the arson.
Further investigations revealed Moore’s and Campbell’s alleged involvement in the November and August arsons, a press release from state fire marshals said.
An account from a Cleburne County resident who witnessed the fire also provided further evidence of Moore’s and Johnson’s roles, Wiggonton said.
Dan Hopkins, chief of the Hollis Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department told The Star after Moore’s and Johnson’s initial arrests he was sickened and shocked by the men’s alleged actions.
During his confession, Moore said he started the housefire to provide “for more training” for himself and the volun-teer department, Wiggonton and Gore noted.
But that doesn’t make sense, Wiggonton said, because the Hollis Crossroads department trains regularly. In fact, Moore would run those training sessions, Hopkins said.
In the wake of the arrests, Hopkins said he will hold meetings with the other 50 volunteer firefighters – most of whom are young like Moore and Johnson – about the severity of the two suspects’ actions.
Wiggonton commended Hopkins for his help with the arson investigations that have involved firefighters in his de-partment.
”The arrest of these firemen gets the bad apples out of the fire department,” Wiggonton said. “Chief Hopkins has been instrumental in this case, and he just wants good, loyal firemen in the department.”
Moore, Campbell and Johnson are all out of police custody on bond, court records show.
Contact Star Staff Writer Cameron Steele at 256-235-3562.