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      Volunteer firefighters charged with arson

      Updated, Oct. 2, 2012 @ 330 a.m.:

      (AP) Johnathan Watson is scheduled for arraignment today in Cooper County.

      Watson is one of the two members of the Cooper County Fire protection district that faces felony counts for arson and burglary and a misdemeanor charge of stealing.

      The two were under investigation by the Missouri Highway Patrol after someone made a false 9-1-1 call in AUgust reporting a fire that never existed.

      The investigation lead to questions about two other fires near Boonville, one on Highway 98 at an abandoned house, the other off Sante Fe Road at a machine shed.

      Authorities believe the group set those fires, but don't know why.

      Original story:

      Two members of the Cooper County Fire Protection District are arrested for setting fires, and immediately fired from their volunteer positions.

      18 year olds William Vollrath and Johnathan Watson face felony counts for arson and burglary and a misdemeanor charge of stealing.

      A third teenager was also implicated.

      Fire District Board President Russell Gerling said the two were under investigation by the Missouri Highway Patrol after someone made a false 9-1-1 call earlier this month reporting a fire that never existed.

      The investigation lead to questions about two other fires near Boonville, one on Highway 98 at an abandoned house, the other off Sante Fe Road at a machine shed.

      Authorities believe the group set those fires, but don't know why.

      Gerling said the district hosted a class for new recruits Wednesday night and will start a closer look at how to spot the signs that someone could be considering arson.

      He says this is the first such incident in the district's 32 year history. There are 30 volunteer firefighters and a paid chief in the fire district.