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Volunteer Firefighter Accused of Setting 20 Fires in Washington Parish

BATON ROUGE, La. (WGNO) - A former volunteer firefighter is accused of setting 20 fires in Washington Parish over the course of two months.

Johnny Erin Tarver, 23, living in Franklinton has been charged with 20 counts of simple arson.  Authorities say the fires were all set in wooded areas or in fields.

Tarver had been a volunteer fireman with the Washington Parish Fire District #2 since November 2013.

“Thanks to an alert Washington Parish deputy, a suspected arsonist was arrested. It’s especially disappointing to learn the suspect was, until shortly before being taken into custody, a volunteer firefighter.  It is our job to help bring to justice people who put lives in danger and property at risk of being destroyed by acting irresponsibly,” Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. said.

If convicted of a single charge of simple arson where the damage is less than five hundred dollars, punishment can be a fine up to $2,500 or imprisonment up to five years, or both.

Washington Parish jail officials say Tarver bonded out of prison. His bond was set at $30,000.