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Volunteer firefighter accused of arson in Cole County


A volunteer firefighter for the Russellville-Lohman Fire Protection District has been charged with three felonies in connection with arsons in November and again in February.

Joshua A. Gerstner, 19, of Russellville was charged Thursday in Cole County with three counts of knowingly burning or exploding. Gerstner told investigators he burned a hay barn owned by his girlfriend's family out of anger in November and that he started two grass fires, on Scrivener Road and at Route A and Curtman Road, in mid-February because he was "bored," according to a probable cause statement.

The statement said authorities are also looking into reports of suspicious fires also set in Moniteau County.

Gerstner was the first to report the barn fire, according to the statement.

Bond was set at $15,000, according to online court records. Gerstner did not have a lawyer listed in court records.

Gerstner was still listed as a firefighter on the fire district website Thursday. The district said he was suspended Wednesday night until further notice.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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