The Oxford Fire Department’s assistant fire chief faces arson charges following an investigation into multiple grass and field fires in Johnson County.
Timothy Hora, 30, of Oxford is charged with five counts of third-degree arson linked to overnight fires earlier this month, officials say.
According to a news release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the sheriff’s office and Oxford and Tiffin fire departments responded to nearly a dozen grass and field fires in rural Johnson County since late March. All of the fires occurred during the night and early morning hours, and the damage was limited to ditches, fields, fence posts and hay bales, the sheriff’s office said.
On April 13, a deputy on patrol near 255th Street NW and Upper Old Highway 6 near Oxford — an area near where previous fires were set — spotted three vegetation fires and noticed a pickup parked near one of the fires and Hora stomping out the flames, according to the news release.
Hora was arrested for operating while intoxicated and taken to the Johnson County Jail, the release said.
About a week later, two more ditch fires broke out on April 21 — the first at about 10:45 p.m. near 1298 300th St. SW and the second at about 11:10 p.m. near 1098 Gegenheimer Road SW.
Through the use of GPS monitoring, the sheriff’s office said investigators were able to show that Hora’s vehicle was traveling in the area near the April 21 fires and stopped at the fire locations before the fires were reported.
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Hora has been charged with five counts of third-degree arson in connection with the fires on April 13 and April 21. He faces a charge of public intoxication in connection with a separate incident on April 23 around 11:15 p.m. near Mile Marker 233 on Interstate 80, just 3 miles west of the Oxford exit.
Hora is currently in the Johnson County Jail awaiting an initial appearance, the sheriff’s office said. His bond is set at $50,000.
The sheriff’s office and State Fire Marshal’s Office are continuing to investigate.
According to its Facebook page, the Oxford Fire Department is a volunteer department with about 20 firefighters.
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