Ex-Firefighter Pleads Not Guilty In W.Va. Arson

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Martinsburg, W.Va. (AP) -- A former Berkeley County volunteer firefighter has pleaded not guilty to charges he set a blaze this year that injured a firefighter from another department.

James Blackford III, of Martinsburg, is scheduled to go on trial starting March 9. He remains free on a $200,000 bond.

The 30-year-old was a three-year member of the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department when he was arrested in april and charged with setting fire to a barn.

Kenneth Ayers of the Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department was critically injured in that blaze, but was later released after hospital treatment.

If convicted of all charges, Blackford faces up to 40 years in prison.

(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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