Spring Hill fire chief gives insight into arson investigations

Chief Terry Hood (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A local arson investigator sat down with News 2 to give insight into his work after two juveniles were charged with arson for the Sevier County wildfires.

Spring Hill Fire Chief Terry Hood has investigated thousands of fires.

“I’ve been doing arson investigating since about 1987. In the last probably 10 years, I’ve looked at probably two to 3,000 fires in that length of time,” Chief Hood told News 2.

He was among a crew of eight Spring Hill firefighters that went to East Tennessee to help battle the flames. He says he’s relieved investigators found the source.

“Any time you can find something out that quick that’s great, especially in circumstances like this when you’ve lost 14 lives, millions of dollars in homes, not to mention the effect on the economy in the Sevier County area.”

Chief Hood described arson investigations as a science where you study burn patterns as a fire burns up and out.

“You can go into a home and look at the way the fire patterns are in the home, rather it’s the wood burning it all points back to the area of origin and that’s where the fire starts,” he explained.

While the exact cause of the Sevier County wildfire is still being investigated, Chief Hood says juvenile fire setters typically confess.

“Being juveniles, you know 99 percent of the time the juveniles, they brag about it to somebody and that gets them caught.”

The minors accused in the Sevier County fire were taken into custody early Wednesday. They face charges of aggravated arson, but additional charges could follow.

“They should be tried as adults. It’s no different than holding a loaded gun and killing somebody as it is setting a fire and killing 14 people,” said Hood.

The juveniles remain in custody. They will have a detention hearing within the next couple of days.