Hopkins County Fire Marshall Mike Matthews’ investigation of a structure fire on County Road 4582 has led to the arrest of Justin Blake Saffel, 21, a volunteer with the North Hopkins Volunteer Fire Department. Saffel was arrested Saturday for arson, a Felony 2.
During an interview with Saffel, he confessed to committing the arson. He explained how he started the fire and the reason for starting the fire. He started the fire so that he cold return to the scene with fellow volunteers and put the fire out. He acted alone in the arson incident.
A house fire Labor Day weekend near Birthright at County Road 4587 and CR 4582 was suspect when a structure, vacant for several years, was fully engulfed when county firemen responded to a grass fire and found the structure as they began their work.
In response to Saffel’s act, the North Hopkins Volunteer Fire Department made the following statement: “The North Hopkins Fire Department regrets the recent incident involving one of our volunteers. Member Justin Saffell has been terminated for his actions. We do not condone his actions nor should this be reflective of the members of the Department. Saffell had been a member for only six months. We apologize to the community for this unfortunate event but assure you that our standards are much higher. When a person applies to become a Volunteer there is little that we can obtain in the way of background due to a persons right to privacy. Beyond a local reference and check of driving record there is little more that can be obtained. The North Hopkins Fire Department will continue to deliver service to the Community and has many dedicated members that will to do so in a professional manner. The best thing we can do for this particular situation is pray for this young man. We would hope the Community will continue to support us and have confidence.”
Saffel is in Hopkins County Jail on a $20,000 bond. He was arrested in September, 2015 for Aggravated Assault with a weapon.