A McMinnville man has been arrested after witnesses reported seeing him run from a field that was on fire.
Dominique Desean Cox, 23, has been charged with reckless burning after allegedly lighting fire to an open field located at 103 Magness Drive, directly across from Warren County EMS Station 1. The incident occurred July 28 at 1 p.m.
McMinnville Police Department detective Sgt. Eddie Colwell said the spark that created the fire likely came from a torch lighter.
“We located him on the railroad tracks,” said Colwell. “I was able to interview him. He admitted to torching the field because he thought it would be fun. A torch lighter was found on his person. It’s an awful big coincidence that his grandmother’s house caught on fire the week before, but that was ruled electrical and was not part of my investigation.”
Cox was initially identified by EMS employees as he ran from the field, but not identified by name. He was recognized from an incident the week earlier. On Monday, July 19, EMS was at a residence on 315 Old Viola Road responding to a structure fire with one individual reportedly trapped in the blaze.
Annie Melson escaped the fire. She reported to emergency responders that her grandson lived with her and was likely sleeping when the fire erupted. EMS employees were still on scene when Cox returned to the home stating that he had left earlier that morning.
McMinnville Fire Chief Kendal Mayfield determined the fire was electrical in nature.
“She told us that she put a load of clothes in the washing machine and a little while later came back and the whole room was on fire,” said Mayfield. “I don’t think he could have set the fire and left without her seeing him. Unless he confesses to setting that fire, I’m going to stick to electrical based on the grandmother reporting that she had put clothes in the washer prior to the fire.”