Volunteer Firefighter International

Murder, Arson Charges for Volunteer Firefighter in W.Va. LODD Fire

By Firefighter Close Calls

As a followup to the Line of Duty death of West Virginia Firefighter Russ Roberson, a “friend” of his and fellow firefighter was arrested for murder and arson yesterday. Robert Lee Beckner, 36, of Iaeger, is charged with first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree arson. Beckner confessed to setting fire to his own home in Iaeger.

Beckner was a member of the Iaeger VFD, and Russell Roberson, 42, who was also a member died in the line of duty as a result of injuries sustained while at a second fire in two days at Beckner’s home.

Related: Help Needed for Fallen W.Va. Volunteer Firefighter’s Family

The Iaeger VFD first responded to the fire at 908 West Virginia Avenue on the morning of Saturday, June 20. Following the fire, fire department members went into the structure and took pictures showing. “Irregular burn patterns were observed on the floor throughout the structure.”

The next day, at 0241 hours, they turned out again for a “rekindle” of the fire, with heavy fire showing — and that is when Roberson sustained injuries causing his death. Roberson was trying to save a man (stop him from going back in) whose mobile home, located beside 908 West Virginia Avenue, was on fire.

Beckner further confessed that he set the residence on fire by igniting a piece of notebook paper and spreading lighter fluid throughout the residence to accelerate the fire.

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