LONG BOTTOM — One person is in custody following an early Thursday morning fire in Long Bottom.
The Meigs County Sheriff’s Office has taken Dennis Persons, 56, of 50810 Bigley Ridge Road into custody, and are investigating the fire as a possible aggravated arson. The sheriff’s office received a call at 6:15 a.m. Thursday to a trailer located 50810 Bigley Ridge Road in order to assist the Olive Township Fire Department.
After arriving on scene, deputies received information that Persons had allegedly set fire to his residence when other people were inside. One person who was inside the trailer at the time the fire was allegedly set sustained burns and was transported by Meigs County EMS to Holzer Meigs Emergency Department. Another person inside the trailer at the time was able to escape and had no injuries, the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff Keith Wood said Persons gave a statement to deputies on scene that he was the one who had started the fire. Wood and Prosecuting Attorney Colleen Williams will be meeting with the state fire marshal officials to determine more possible charges in this investigation.
According to the Ohio State Bar Association, there is a difference between an arson charge as opposed to an aggravated arson charge. In the case of an arson charge, it is the intentional burning of a building. However, a charge of aggravated arson means the individual who set the fire not only intentionally started it to burn a building, but is created a substantial risk of serious physical harm to a person other than the arsonist.
Other fire departments that responded to the fire included Bashan, Chester and Tuppers Plains fire departments.
Wood said there is relief that there were no fatalities from the fire.
“I was very pleased to see how our First Responders (volunteer firemen) worked so quickly and are dedicated to their jobs in protecting our citizens,” he said. “This situation could have been such a tragedy, and I’m thankful for no loss of life in this incident.”
The sheriff’s office can be reached at 740-992-3371, or to report an emergency call 911.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.