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Wood County volunteer firefighter accused of setting 8 fires

Courtney Dwaine Keel, 44, of Mineola
Courtney Dwaine Keel, 44, of Mineola(Wood County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 2:42 PM CDT
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WOOD COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A Hainesville volunteer firefighter was arrested Tuesday for arson in eight suspicious fires.

Courtney Dwaine Keel, 44, of Mineola, is charged with eight counts of arson. He was arrested on Tuesday and posted a collective $200,000 bond on Wednesday.

Wood County Fire Marshall Tully Davidson said he had located a flare burning in a dry grassy ditch near CR 2590 in August and believed the resulting fire was possibly arson. Flares were found at grass fires set Aug. 24 and Aug. 25 of 2020, according to the arrest affidavit.

Davidson suspected Officer Courtney Dwaine Keel of the Hainesville Fire Department according to the arrest affidavit. Davidson said Keel told him he was worried his fingerprints may be on flares collected from the fires because “his uncle” had stolen flares from his boat and he “was a bad man” and would come after him if Keel identified the uncle, according to the affidavit.

Chief Robert Holland of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office began investigating recent fires that Hainesville VFD responded to. Records revealed nine separate suspicious fires from June of 2020 through Sept. 24, 2021, according to the affidavit.

A hay bale fire on July 27, 2020, had video of Keel driving away from the fire, with no other vehicles in the area, then returning in fire gear to assist the fire department. Keel drove up at two separate abandoned residence fires just as they were beginning and returned to both scenes to assist extinguishing the fire, according to the affidavit.

Holland’s investigation showed Keel’s residence was within 1.5 to 2 miles from all nine suspicious fires and he was the only fireman who had responded to all nine of the fires investigated.

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