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Ex-911 dispatcher intentionally set dozens of fires 'to give the boys something to do,' feds say


One former dispatcher for a volunteer fire company in Ohio has reportedly admitted that he started at least 24 fires in this area to keep his coworkers busy.

According to a criminal complaint released on Tuesday from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, James Bartles, 50, has admitted to setting at least 24 fires in Wayne National Forest — nearly 250,000 acres of federal land located about 80 miles southeast of Columbus — within the last year.

According to reports, there have been around 40 suspicious fires in WNF over the past year. Investigators first suspected Bartles in April, when he discovered an unreported fire at Greenfield Township Volunteer Fire Department. Six months later, a natural resources officer saw Bartles’ pickup truck near a fire, which was reported an hour later. Bartles resigned as a department administrator on November 8. Within days of his resignation, there were at least 17 suspicious fires in WNF.

Bartles was interviewed on December 8 by investigators in connection with the suspected arsons. Bartles admitted to lighting…

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