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Man charged with arson after two mobile homes burned down Thursday night


A Boone County man has been charged with arson in relation to a Thursday night fire that burned down two mobile homes just outside of Columbia.

Marshall Crews Jr., 58, has been charged with first-degree arson. He is being held at the Boone County Jail without bond, according to Boone County Sheriff online records.  

Boone County Sheriff Capt. Brian Leer told ABC 17 News that it is believed Crews started a fire in the 4000 block of Ponderosa Street. Crews lives in the 4000 block, according to court records.

He also had a warrant for failure to appear in court for a child support case in Audrain County. A $5,000 bond was set for that Audrain County charge.

According to the probable cause statement, the owner of Blue Acres Trailer Court approached a Boone County Sheriff’s deputy where the fire occurred and said Crews lived there. He also said Crews had previously talked about burning the place down.

Crews’ neighbor told the sheriff’s deputy that he saw Crews kicking the door at the mobile home where he lived and then saw flames the size of the door.

Deputies found Crews at a nearby trailer, where he was arrested. Crews allegedly told deputies that he used a piece of paper to light a cigarette and that he put the paper down and walked away, according to the probable cause statement.

"I was out on the scene as well so our deputies respond down there and made contact with fire personnel," Leer said. "They quickly learned that there was a suspect involved. Mr. Crews, Marshall Crews, who was identified fairly early as a suspect. In fact, in less than 30 minutes we've located him. He had an active warrant for his arrest as well. So he was taken into custody."

Crews said he walked back into the room about a minute later and saw the room was on fire and allegedly tried to put out the flame with a towel, but the fire spread. He did not call 911 for assistance.

There were three people in the trailer next to Crew’s residence when the fire started, the probable cause statement said. The occupants of that trailer got out before it burned down.

"I was just scared for my house and my kids," a resident at the park Rebecca Bradford said. "Basically we were carrying stuff out to the trunk and it was engulfed, I mean, the whole neighborhood was lit up. And then next thing we knew two trailers were going up. Sparks everywhere, trees were catching fire."

Bradford added that she is now considering selling the trailer she owns.

"It makes me want to move as soon as I can get the money, I'm out of here," she said.

Fire crews were at the scene past 10 p.m. No injuries were reported.

"Upon arrival, we've seen two trailers fully engulfed, threatening the one to the south and one to the north," Boone County Fire District Battalion Chief Clint Walker said at the scene Thursday night. "The fire actually got into the one (mobile home) on the south side. So it was two that were completely gone and two sustained damage on the outside, and to the sheds, also."

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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