Grand Jury indicts firemen
By LPR Staff
Three former volunteers with the Maxwell Volunteer Fire Department were indicted last week on arson charges in connection with a number of suspicious fires in the Maxwell area earlier this year.
Brothers Robert and Richard Hitchcock and Christopher Kierych, all 19, face jail terms between 5 and 99 years for each count of
arson, if convicted of the crimes.
In July, Caldwell County Fire Marshal Jeff Wright filed felony charges against the trio after the Maxwell VFD reported a June incident in which the three arrived at a fire in an abandoned structure before on-duty firefighters did.
“We didn”t want to believe it, but we knew we had to look at it,” Maxwell VFD chief Donald LeClerc said shortly after the charges were filed. “Some of the things they were saying and doing just didn”t make sense.”
The Caldwell County grand jury confirmed last week that LeClerc”s suspicions may have been justified. Robert Hitchcock was indicted on one count of arson. Kierych and Richard Hitchcock were both indicted on three counts.
Wright could not comment as to the difference in the charges, except to say that the investigation is still pending. Based on early reports, it is possible that the trio may be involved in as many as six fires throughout the county.
According to Wright, the Hitchcock brothers are both out of jail on bond, but Kierych is still incarcerated.
Prior to their arrest, the three men had been probationary firefighters with the Maxwell VFD. They were suspended from service in Maxwell in July. However, after their release from the Caldwell County Jail, the Hitchcocks applied and were accepted to volunteer with the Dale Volunteer Fire Department. They have been seen on several Dale emergency calls, sources said.
Dale VFD chief Bob Barron could not be reached for comment regarding the situation.
For more Caldwell County Grand Jury indictments, see Page 7A.