2 Warner firefighters suspected for arson, embezzlement

WARNER, Okla. - Two Warner volunteer firefighters are accused of starting numerous fires last summer in rural areas in Muskogee and McIntosh counties.

Warner police chief Terry Thompson told 2NEWS Tobey Hadley Jr., 19, and Robert Hill, 20, were arrested this week; Hill on Tuesday, Hadley a day later.

Prosecutors say they will likely face charges of arson, embezzlement and unauthorized use of a credit card.

The complaints stem from an investigation that began in July. Firefighters became suspicious when fires began appearing in remote areas around Warner.

Firefighters say these fires had been intentionally set.

"When [Hadley and Hill] always were first to the scene, it pointed toward them that they were responsible," said Thompson.

Authorities made the arrests after further investigation indicated the two had indeed attempted to start the fires.

While it does not appear the men had set the fires with the intention of causing property damage or harm to anyone, according to Thompson, as the fires were lit during a severe dry spell, the fires placed their fellow fire fighters at risk.

"We are very fortunate that nobody, to my knowledge, was injured," he told 2NEWS. "If somebody had been injured or died, they would be facing much more severe charges."

But while the other firemen in the department had not been physical injured by Hadley's and Hill's actions, they still are pained.

"The men in the fire department are hard working firefighters. They are discouraged – hurt – because that is not what they are about," he said.

The unauthorized use of a credit card and embezzlement charges stem from allegations they had used their cards to purchase fuel for personal use.

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