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Former student charged in fire that burned Jefferson County deputy

October 28, 2008|By DAVE MCMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A former Jefferson High School student was arrested Monday on arson charges after a fire Oct. 2 in a shed behind the high school that burned a Jefferson County Sheriff's Department officer, the Jefferson County sheriff said.

The 15-year-old student, who is not being identified because of his age, was being held Monday at the Vicki V. Douglas Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., on $25,000 surety bond, Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober said.

The student was charged with second-degree arson and three counts of arson causing injury, Boober said.

The second-degree arson fire carries a possible punishment of one to 10 years incarceration, and the charge of arson causing injury carries a possible punishment of one to five years incarceration and/or a fine of up to $10,000, Boober said.

After the fire, the student transferred to Berkeley County Schools and is now a home-school student, Boober said.

Another Jefferson High School student could be implicated in the fire, Boober said.

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Monday's arrest was made after a student at the high school provided police with information about the incident, Boober said.

Boober declined to comment on a motive for the fire, which was started with a lighter and cans of Sterno Canned Heat at 8:35 p.m. on Oct. 2.

Cpl. Victor Lupis of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department responded to the shed fire between the baseball and football fields at Jefferson High and attempted to smother the fire, Boober said.

While Lupis was trying to put out the fire, a can of paint exploded, causing mostly third-degree burns, the most severe, to 10 percent of Lupis' body, including his arms, hands, the right side of his face and right ear, Boober said.

Lupis was able to get out of the shed, and firefighters extinguished the fire, Boober said.

Lupis has returned to full duty at the sheriff's department and his most serious burns are on his right arm and right ear, Boober said. Lupis must keep those areas away from ultraviolet rays as they heal, Boober said.

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