10 volunteer firefighters accused of multiple arsons in Robeson County

10 volunteer firefighters accused of multiple arsons in Robeson County

ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WNCN) - Ten volunteer firefighters have been arrested and charged in connection with several arsons in Robeson County, Sheriff Ken Sealey announced Tuesday.

The firefighters are accused of intentionally setting fire to abandoned homes and wooded areas in the community. They worked with the Fairmont and Orrum fire departments.

The arrests follow a nearly 18-month investigation, Sealey said.

A Maxton police officer and North Carolina Department of Corrections officer also faces charges following the investigation.

"The firefighters were involved in a conspiracy over a two-year time period to set numerous with woods and abandoned structure fires," Sealey said.

Robeson County Sheriff's Office, State Bureau of Investigation, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the North Carolina Forestry Service assisted in the investigation, Sealey said.

"There are approximately 90 arson-related charges in the investigation with more charges and individuals expected," Sealey announced.

Sealey told CBS 17 that today is "a sad day."

Officials said that hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted responding to the fires.

All 10 suspects will make their first court appearances Wednesday morning, authorities said. More arrests are expected.

Those arrested are:

Melquan Williams, 21, of Fairmont (Former Maxton Police Officer)
Charges: Felony arson burning church, uninhabited house, store
Felony conspiracy
Bond: $200,000

Austin Seth Hunt, 23, of Rowland (Department of Corrections)
2 counts felony arson burning church, uninhabited house, store
6 counts felony setting fire to grass, brush, woods
5 counts felony conspiracy 
Bond: $200,000

Ashley Marie Oxendine, 18, of Orrum
2 counts felony setting fire To grass, brush, woods
2 counts felony conspiracy
Bond: $100,000

John Austin Huggins, 17, of Fairmont
2 counts felony setting fire to grass, brush, woods
2 counts felony arson burning church, uninhabited house, store
4 counts felony conspiracy
Bond: $100,000

Jordan Scott, 19, of Fairmont
4 counts felony setting fire To grass, brush, woods
5 counts felony arson burning church, uninhabited house, store
9 counts felony conspiracy
Bond: $100,000

Kenny Caulder Jr., 19, of Fairmont
6 counts felony arson burning church, uninhabited house, store
2 counts felony setting fire To grass, brush, woods
7 counts felony conspiracy
Bond: $100,000

Willie Fuentes Strickland, 42, of Fairmont
2 counts felony setting fire To grass, brush, woods
Felony arson burning church, uninhabited house, store
3 counts felony conspiracy
Bond: $100,000

Jordan Emmanuel Hunt, 18, of Fairmont
4 counts felony setting fire To grass, brush, woods
12 counts felony conspiracy
Bond: $100,000

Shellia Huggins, 19, of Fairmont
2 counts felony setting fire To grass, brush, woods
2 counts  felony arson burning church, uninhabited house, store
4 counts counts felony conspiracy
Bond: $100,000

William Kendall Strickland, 18, Lennon Dr., Fairmont, NC
1 ct. Larceny, Misdeameanor
1 ct. Felony, Setting Fire To Grass, Brush, Woods
1 ct. Felony, Conspiracy, Felony
Bond $100,000.00