A volunteer firefighter and assistant fire chief in Corum, Oklahoma was arrested on Wednesday and charged with 15 counts of arson.
…That area has been plagued with wildfires since 2006.
It’s the same year James Edgar Morgan Jr. started volunteering for the Corum Fire Department. Authorities say it’s no coincidence.
“He told me this morning that he’s sorry about what he’s done to the people of this county,” says Sheriff Wayne McKinney.
McKinney says Morgan has confessed to starting up to 60 wildfires throughout Stephens County. At the start of the year, his deputies teamed up with the Department of Agriculture to catch a possible arsonist.
Witnesses they interviewed said they had seen Morgan’s vehicle leaving the scene of several fires. McKinney says he doesn’t think Morgan was trying to create work for him self or secure funding. He says the motivation was simple.
“He gets enjoyment out of starting the fires,” McKinney says. “He always picked a time when there was a lot of wind and the fire would move rather rapidly. So that did put a lot of people in danger.”
District Attorney Bret Burns says Morgan’s actions could easily have been deadly. “He endangered his friends, he endangered the community he lives in,” Burns says. “We’ll prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.”
Burns says each one of the 15 counts of third-degree arson carries up to 15 years in prison. He says more charges are expected as the investigation continues.
If Mr. Morgan is convicted on all of the charges, he could be sentenced to more than 200 years in prison.