Volunteer firefighter Leslie Roy Winchester charged with setting fire to church, Masonic Lodge

A Tennessee volunteer firefighter reportedly started a series of suspicious fires that burned a church, Masonic lodge and other buildings in a small community over the past month.

Leslie Roy Winchester, 19, was arrested in connection with multiple fires that broke out in the community of Waverly beginning in June, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said.

The first Winchester-related fire occurred last month in the 5500 block of Bakerville Road in Waverly, the TBI said. Four other suspicious fires occurred between July 1 and July 8 at various locations in the community.

Buildings damaged or destroyed in the fires included a church, a Masonic lodge, a former fire station and a vacant house, authorities said.

Two firefighters were injured while battling two of the blazes, WSMV-TV reported.

Investigators identified the volunteer firefighters as the suspect and charged him with three counts of aggravated arson, three counts of arson, six counts of criminal trespassing and six counts of vandalism over $10,000.

Winchester was sentenced to Humphreys County Jail on $1,746,000 bond.

Winchester was named Firefighter of the Year in December 2021 by Humphreys County, the station reported.

Waverly is located approximately 66 miles west of Nashville.


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