Arizona firefighter arrested on arson charges after fires at cemetery, gas station, old homes

PHOENIX − An Arizona firefighter was arrested on Friday in connection with multiple arson events, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

The YCSO and the Coconino County Sheriff's Office have searched for an arsonist setting fires around the Ash Fork area over the last few months. The leads YCSO had followed eventually linked them to finding a suspect, Karson Nutter, 18, who is a firefighter in Ash Fork, roughly 50 miles west of Flagstaff.

Leads from a small fire that was set on Thursday connected the suspect to multiple recent fires, according to a news release. YCSO and CCSO deputies also connected eight separate arson events that have happened in Yavapai County and Coconino County since June 15, 2023.

In Yavapai County, there were two separate fires to a county-owned cemetery and two separate fires to a gas station in Ash Fork. In Coconino County, there were two abandoned houses burned down and two wildfires.

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Deputies said during early investigative interviews that Nutter provided misinformation, which furthered the deputies' suspicion, the YCSO said in a release.

Nutter was again interviewed on Thursday evening by the YSSO and the CCSO, where Nutter admitted to being directly involved in setting in at least seven out of the last eight arson cases, including three of four fires in Yavapai County, said the news release.

In his confession, Nutter also said that his motives in setting the fires ranged from boredom, retaliation against a former employer, chasing a thrill, and setting fires to abandoned homes for being "ugly", said the news release.

Nutter was booked into the YCSO Detention Center and was charged with three counts of arson of a structure or property, aggravated criminal damage (defacing a cemetery/burial property), five counts of false reporting to law enforcement for knowingly providing false suspect information to impede a criminal investigation.

The YCSO said that it is expected that the CCSO will be filing more charges against Nutter for the offenses made in their county, said the release.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Ash Fork, Arizona firefighter arrested under suspicion of arson