ROWLAND — An 18-year-old firefighter who worked for two local fire departments was charged Wednesday with setting several fires dating back to September 2010.
Austin Seth Hunt, 18, of the 4600 block of U.S. 301, Rowland, has been charged with setting six fires to woods and fields — four times in 2010, once in 2011, and on Sept. 12 of this year, according to sheriff’s Lt. Brian Duckworth. He faces charges of setting fire to woodlands and grasses, which is a misdemeanor.
Duckworth said some fires were set near Hunt’s home and others near Covington and School roads. He said that many of the fires were called in by Hunt or his relatives. No one was injured in any of the fires and no buildings were damaged.
Duckworth said Hunt told investigators that he began setting fires for the thrill of helping to put them out, and then “he just couldn’t quit.”
Duckworth said that some of the fires were set while Hunt was a member of Raynham-McDonald Vounteer Fire Department and some previously, while he was a member of the Rowland Volunteer Fire Department. He no longer works as a volunteer firefighter.
The North Carolina Forestry Service began the investigation and worked with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. Hunt’s bond was set for $3,000 and he was released to his parents, according to Duckworth. A photograph of Hunt was not available.
Hunt is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Oct. 24.