Ralls Firefighter Arrested in Connection to Setting Fires - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/23/06

Ralls Firefighter Arrested in Connection to Setting Fires

It was a blow to the Ralls Volunteer Fire Department to learn that one of their own could be responsible for at least one of three fires that happened in Ralls last week.

Ralls police arrested 19-year-old Wesley Sellers at the place he works, Triumph Seed Company. Sellers has also been a Ralls volunteer firefighter for 90 days. Ralls Fire Chief Rodney Pelkey says the situation is unfortunate. "To the people of Ralls, all I can do is apologize for the fire department and assure them this won't happen again."

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A tip also led police to 18-year-old David Hernandez, who is not a firefighter. Police Chief James Williams says he got a confession out of both men. "Both of them have stated that they were involved with the arson at the Owens Co-Op Gin," said Williams.

Williams is also investigating how Sellers and Hernandez may be linked to Friday's fire that burned 521 bales of cotton at Trinity Company. The two men could be linked to another fire. The chief believes the boys were on a burning spree last week. An old abandoned house burned to the ground in Emma, south of Ralls. The chief believes the boys are responsible.

"Was Wesley out there fighting the Owens cotton and the Emma fire?" asked NewsChannel 11. "Yes he was," answered Pelkey. Wesley Sellers had only been on the department for 90 days and was still in training. "You can't condemn the whole department for one person," said Pelkey.

The Crosby county district attorney may upgrade the charges to arson depending if the suspects are linked to the other fires. Authorities are now looking for a third suspect.

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