On August 3, 2023 at approximately 10:00 AM the Sugarcreek Borough Police received a call for a burning complaint. Upon further investigation by officers an uncontrolled fire was found to be burning in the backyard of a resident. Due to the nature of the blaze, Rocky Grove Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched and extinguished the fire.
Upon further investigation it was determined that Gregory Arthur Blair, 70 of Franklin, had intentionally started a fire in a burn barrel in his back yard and then left the premises. The unattended fire spread to the surrounding area where it began to burn out of control due to the extensive debris and clutter in his back yard.
By the time the fire was extinguished it had caused damage to nearby buildings and was with 4-20 feet of multiple occupied and non-occupied structures. Several responding fire fighters stated that if this had gone even 15 minutes more several houses would have caught fire and burned in the neighborhood.
The Sugarcreek Borough Police have charged Gregory Arthur Blair with the following:
Arson: Endangering Property – Felony
Arson: Reckless Burning – Felony
Causing or Risking a Catastrophe – Felony
Recklessly Endangering Another Person – Misdemeanor
Gregory Blair was taken into custody and arraigned before Judge Kirtland where he was placed on $10,000 bail with conditions. Gregory Blair posted bail shortly after.
Gregory Blair’s preliminary hearing is currently scheduled for August 9, 2023 at 8:30 AM.