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franklin county times

Spruce Pine man arrested for arson

By Staff
Jason Cannon FCT Publisher
In what has become a familiar occurrence in the last few weeks, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department has arrested a Spruce Pine man for arson.
Ronnie Earl Hawkins, 53, of Spruce Pine was arrested following an investigation into a mobile home fire Sept. 29 at 85 Pounders Cemetery Road.
Sheriff Larry Plott said Pounders is charged with arson second degree and criminal mischief and is currently being held under $12,500 bond.
Plott added he was also alarmed at the county's third arson arrest in less than two weeks.
"The best deterrent for arson is to make arrests," he said. "People will start to see that it's not easy to get away with it and think twice."
Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell said arsons are tough cases to investigate but are far from impossible.
"They key to a good arson investigation is getting the fire put out quickly," he said. "The more of the actual structure that is preserved, the more that's left for the investigators to work with."
Plott extended his appreciation to the Phil Campbell and Russellville Fire Departments in controlling the fire so quickly, which aided in the investigation.
Russellville, Phil Campbell, and the state fire marshal's office all assisted the sheriff's office with the investigation.
Plott said Hawkins' motive for setting the fire was still under investigation and more arrests were possible.