Two arrested for arson

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Two men have been arrested after police say they broke into an unoccupied home and set fire to it on Dec. 29 on Cummins Lane in Dry Ridge.

Grant County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Burke charged Cecil R. Rose II, 20, of Williamstown and Curtis J. Morrison, 19, of Hebron, formerly of Williamstown, with second-degree arson and third-degree burglary.

Rose and Morrison  are members of the National Guard and volunteers with the Dry Ridge Fire Department.

“Basically, they said they did it so they could respond to a fire before they reported for military duty,” said Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills.

Since being charged, they have been suspended from the fire department pending the outcome of  the investigation.

“It’s disappointing for the department and for the community as a whole when you have firefighters accused of something like this,” said Dry Ridge Assistant Fire Chief Joe Jamison.

Dills said the pair set the fire, went back to the Dry Ridge Fire House to wait for the 911 call and when the department wasn’t notified to respond, they returned to Cummins Lane where their vehicle was seen by Chris Conrad.

Conrad noticed smoke coming from his deceased father’s home and called 911. He was later able to give firefighters a description of the vehicle he saw in the area before he discovered the fire.

Members of the Grant County Fire Chiefs Fire Investigation Team began an investigation into the cause of the fire. This group, which was formed last summer, is composed of members from several fire departments and includes a deputy state fire marshal and former FBI investigator.

The fire investigation team turned their findings over to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, which charged the pair.

They are being held in the Grant County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash bond.

“It’s a sad situation,” said Dills. “The Dry Ridge Fire Department is a professional organization and were very supportive in this investigation. Unfortunately, things like this happen and the actions of two shouldn’t take away from the good work of the organization.”