HUMPHREYS COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A firefighter is in custody after he allegedly confessed to starting a series of suspicious fires in Waverly over the last 30 days.
According to the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office, Leslie Winchester, a 20-year-old volunteer firefighter, confessed late Friday night that he was responsible for some of the suspicious fires that the city has seen over the last 30 days.
“The Bomb and Arson Agents, part of TBI, was able to narrow down some of the information that we had and took it and run with it and put together a really, really good case and we were able to interview the guy and get a good confession,” Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis said.
Officials say Winchester is currently being held on a $1.7 million bond at the Humphreys County Jail as the investigation continues.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Winchester was charged with three counts of aggravated arson, three counts of arson, six counts of criminal trespassing and six counts of vandalism over $10,000.
“He actually went to the scene of some of these fires. He was actually fighting fires on some of these scenes,” Davis said.
A fire hall, a Masonic Lodge and a church all fell victim to the series of fires that the city has seen in the past month. The fires remain under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Davis put out a plea Friday after a fire at Jennifer’s Furniature and Gifts, raising the amount of reward money and asking the public to come forward with information in the case. He thanked the public for their help in information leading to the arrest.
“I’m really proud of the way it went down,” Davis said. “Once we started getting information out to them through you guys our community came back and started feeding us information and we were able to put things together and put those little pieces of the puzzle together that I think were able to lead to this arrest.”
In the past 30 days, Sheriff Davis said Waverly has seen an estimated 10 fires. It remains unclear as to which fires Winchester has allegedly confessed to being a part of.
“[In] four of these fires, people were hurt in. I know that we had one young lady, one young firefighter that was hurt and actually had to go to the hospital. We had another one that stepped on a nail. And when you’re a small, rural county like that and then you’re dependent on the volunteers and then you find out it’s one of your own, it’s frustrating,” Davis said.
The investigation remains ongoing. No other information was immediately released.