State Fire Marshal's Office Seeks Tips in Decatur County FireTuesday, April 17, 2012 | 04:26 pm
NASHVILLE- The State Fire Marshal’s Office, in coordination with the 24th District Attorney’s Office and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, is asking the public to call the state arson hotline with information related to the April 7 fire there that killed a fire chief and injured two other volunteer firefighters.
“The arson hotline is a phone line dedicated to receiving information about suspicious and incendiary fires,” State Fire Marshal and Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said. “It is answered 24 hours a day, and you may remain anonymous when providing information. Cash awards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction.”
McPeak joined 24th District Attorney General Hansel J. McCadams on Monday to announce that the fatal fire was an act of arson and that the full resources of the State Fire Marshal’s Office Bomb and Arson section would be available in the criminal investigation. What follows is General McCadams’s statement:
“On April 7, 2012, Decatur County District 3 Fire Chief Kenny Fox was killed while attempting to suppress a fire at the Oak Hill Bar at 1877 Highway 412 West in Parsons, Tennessee. Fellow firefighters Jeremy Inman and Randy Inman were also seriously injured fighting the fire. Chief Kenny Fox and Jeremy Inman were also full-time law enforcement officers with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department. The State of Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Bomb and Arson Section was immediately notified and arrived before the fire was extinguished to begin the investigation of the cause of the fire. The United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) responded to the scene to assist the investigation. During the first hours and days of the investigation, Bomb and Arson received valuable assistance from the Jackson Police Department Aviation unit helicopter and from the Tennessee Highway Patrol Critical Incident Response Team. Firefighters from all fire departments in Decatur County were present combating the fire on that Saturday morning when Chief Fox lost his life in the performance of his duty and service to this community.
After a careful and through examination of the fire scene along with interviews and reports of assisting agencies, the State Fire Marshal’s Bomb and Arson section has determined that the fire that took the life of Chief Kenny Fox, seriously injured firefighters Jeremy Inman and Randy Inman, and destroyed the Oak Hill Café was incendiary in nature. This was a set fire. This fire was a criminal act of Arson.
Accordingly, the State Fire Marshal, the Federal ATF, and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office are now investigating this criminal act as a qualified capital, first-degree felony murder and aggravated arson crime. Agents have spoken to a great number of witnesses and recovered pieces of evidence. Because of the status and nature of this homicide investigation, we cannot comment on or reveal any other details of this fire. However, we do ask for the public’s continued assistance to seek additional information in this case. This information is important to us. We sincerely request that the public use the Statewide Arson Hotline with any tips on this arson. The number is 1-800-762-3017. There is a reward attached to the arson hotline.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is a part of the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/, @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), http://on.fb.me/uFQwUZ (Facebook), http://bit.ly/ry1GyX (YouTube)