Volunteer firefighter charged with arson in Cedar Hill tobacco barn fire

David Akers (Robertson County Detention Facility)
David Akers (Robertson County Detention Facility)

CEDAR HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – A volunteer firefighter is accused of arson in connection to a tobacco barn fire in Cedar Hill earlier this month.

David Akers was arrested and charged with arson after being indicted by a grand jury.

It’s not unusual to see smoking coming from what’s known as a dark fired tobacco barn, but when a farm worker saw a fire at an air cured barn, which tobacco is dried with open air, he knew something was wrong.

“He was coming through and seen a strange truck and then he seen a fire in the top of the barn and he immediately called me and chased the truck and got license plate numbers and everything,” said barn owner Joey Richards.

The fire happened last week on Mud Cat Road.

“It scared me at first, we jump up and ran to it, luckily it went out,” Richards said.

Over the course of the investigation, sheriff’s investigators developed Akers as a possible suspect.

Officials told News 2 Akers responded back to the scene of that tobacco fire but by the time the volunteer arrived, it was already out.

Richards was surprised to hear, a volunteer fireman was responsible for starting the fire.

“It just kind of blows your mind that somebody would want to do something like that so they can get a thrill I guess,” Richards said.

Richards is a fourth generation tobacco farmer, and the fire could have been devastating to his livelihood.

“It’s something that could ruin you; you can lose your house and everything if you lose a barn of tobacco. It’s serious business,” Richard said.

Richards said there was also an attempted fire Friday of that same week at his brother’s tobacco barn and another farmer’s barn burned that Saturday.

News 2 reached out to Robertson County Sheriff’s officials to see if Akers is a possible suspect in those cases.

We are still waiting to hear back from them about the other cases.

North Robertson County Fired Chief Chad Gregory said Akers was placed on leave as soon as the department was noticed that he was being investigated.

“North Robertson Fire and Rescue has, and will continue, to fully cooperate with the investigation. No further statements regarding this case will be issued by this department,” Gregory said.

Akers has been booked into the Robertson County jail on a $20,000 bond.