The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
An investigation into multiple night time vegetation fires in Johnson County has led to the arrest of the assistant fire chief at the Oxford Fire Department.
According to a news release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, deputies and the Tiffin Fire Department responded to a field fire near the 3004 Chambers Avenue SW at about 8:40 p.m. on March 27.
Over the next two weeks the Sheriff’s Office and the Oxford Fire Department responded to seven additional grass and field fires in the rural Oxford area, according to the release. All of the fires occurred during the night and early morning hours and the damage was limited to ditches, fields, fence posts and hay bales, the sheriff’s office said.
On April 13, the sheriff’s office said a deputy was on patrol in the area the previous fires when he found three vegetation fires in the area of 255th Street NW and Upper Old Highway 6 near Oxford. Upon further investigation, the deputy also observed a pickup truck parked near one of the fires and a man stamping out the flames.
The man was identified as 30-year-old Timothy Hora, the assistant chief at the Oxford Fire Department. Hora was subsequently arrested for operating while intoxicated and taken to the Johnson County Jail.
About a week later, two more ditch fires broke out — the first at about 10:45 p.m. on April 21 near 1298 300th St. SW and the second at about 11:10 p.m. near 1098 Gegenheimer Road SW.
Through the use of GPS monitoring, the sheriff’s office said investigators were able to show that Hora’s vehicle was traveling in the area of the fires on April 21 and stopped in the area of the fire locations before the fires were reported.
Hora has been charged with five counts of third-degree arson in connection with the fires on April 13 and April 21. He faces a charge of public intoxication in connection with a separate incident that occurred on April 23 around 11:15 p.m. near mile marker 233 on Interstate 80.
Hora is currently in the Johnson County Jail awaiting an initial appearance, the sheriff’s office said. His bond is $50,000 cash or surety.
The State Fire Marshall and Johnson County Sheriff’s Office are continuing to investigate.
©2019 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Visit The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) at thegazette.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.