A fire in an abandoned house last week led to the arrest of a Columbus man Tuesday.
Special Agents with the Kansas State Fire Marshal‘s office arrested Kenneth “Donut“ Webber, 52, at the Free Store on the Columbus courthouse square on charges of arson, conspiracy to commit arson and burglary Tuesday afternoon. Webber is being held in the Cherokee County Jail on $21,000 bond.
The arrest is in conjunction with a house fire at 535 West Olive on Nov. 5.
Chief Special Agent for the Investigation Division of the Fire Marshal‘s Office Rose Rozmairek said Webber allegedly entered the structure and set flammable materials on fire inside the house.
Rozmairek declined to comment on the conspiracy charge or whether Webber is suspected of other fires in the area, citing an ongoing investigation.
She did say, however, that the case is far from over.
“It‘s not closed by any means,” Rozmairek said. “We‘re still investigating the full extent of the case.”
Steven Burton with the Columbus Fire Department said they were called out at about 11:43 p.m. Nov. 5 to the house.
Burton said 18 firefighters and five trucks were on the scene until about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 6. He said firefighters arrived to find the house “well involved“ with smoke and fire rolling out the front over the roof.
“It suffered extreme fire and smoke damage,” he said. “More smoke than fire, but it did burn through the roof at one point.”
Burton said it is standard procedure to call in investigators on structure fires.
“We call in investigators on any structure fire we deal with,” He said. “Especially abandoned ones with no utilities.”
Webber was expected to be formally charged Friday.