Firefighter Charged With Arson After Tobacco Barn Fire
CEDAR HILL TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Last week Robertson County 911 dispatch received a call regarding a tobacco barn fire on Mud Cat Road in Cedar Hill. MAP
If we compare this tobacco barn fire to others that have occurred in the Robertson County area in the last few years, this one could easily be classified as the one least damaged by fire. The damage to the barn was almost unappreciable and the loss of tobacco was just a few leaves. What set it apart is that it could also be classified as one of the most suspicious.
North Robertson and Adams Fire Departments were dispatched and extinguished the fire. Deputies with the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office also responded and suspected criminal activity due to the fact that the barn is an air-cured tobacco barn, not a fired or smoking barn. Smokey barns (as we like to call them) are beautiful to look at but there is a danger that the smoldering wood inside the barn could ignite the barn itself. It’s a risk all dark fired tobacco farmers face each year in Robertson County- but this barn is air-cured which offers no risk of fire for the farmer.
Now Detectives with the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office say they have a suspect in custody for the fire. The case was presented to the Robertson County Grand Jury which ultimately returned a true bill and indicted the suspect. Today, October 25, David Allen Akers, 34, of Lebanon TN was arrested and charged with arson of the barn.
David Allen Akers
Akers is a volunteer fireman for North Robertson Fire Department and was one of the firemen that arrived on the scene the night of the fire. Akers was booked into the Robertson County Detention Facility in Springfield on a $20,000 bond.
The barn is owned by Joey and Kim Richards. The night of the fire the Richards’ told Smokey Barn News that a friend spotted a truck parked in front of the barn that he didn’t recognize. As he approached the barn in his vehicle the truck fled at a high rate of speed. According to Joey Richards, the truck was going too fast to safely follow it but some vehicle plate information was obtained. The vehicle was described as a silver or tan Nissan truck, according to the Richards’.
As they examined the minor damage to their barn and tobacco, it seemed pretty clear to Joey and Kim Richards that someone tried to set their tobacco, and their barn, on fire.
According to Fire Chief Chad Gregory with North Robertson Fire & Rescue, Akers was placed on leave as soon as the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office notified him about the investigation. “North Robertson Fire & Rescue has fully cooperated with the investigation,” Gregory said.
“Our team did a great job working with the community to solve this case,” said Chief Deputy Michael Van Dyke. “We appreciate the cooperation of North Robertson Fire Department. They were instrumental in our investigation.”
This was the second tobacco barn fire in as many days in the Adams/Cedar Hill area. The night before this fire, Saturday October 16, firefighters from Adams and North Robertson Fire & Rescue again responded to another tobacco barn fire. This one on Hugh Gill Road in the same general area, that barn however was a total loss. It sets just 9 miles (6 miles as a crow flies) north of this barn. (distance map) Like this barn, the call came into 911 around 11:pm. FULL STORY
Officials told Smokey Barn News in the days following both fires that they do not believe that the two fires are connected.
If you have any information about this incident you are encouraged to contact the Robertson County dispatch center at 615-384-4911.
Hugh Gill Road fire. PHOTO: Hale family.
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