Former Firefighter Gets 10 Years for Setting Barn Fire

July 20, 2013
Brett Graham, a former Kelley firefighter, was found guilty of second-degree arson in connection with a barn fire that he later responded to.

July 20--A convicted arsonist was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday in Boone County District Court.

Brett Graham, a former Kelley firefighter, was found guilty of second-degree arson jury on June 12 in connection with a barn fire that occurred in Boone County on Jan. 25. Twelve horses were killed in the fire.

A victim restitution claim filed in the case estimated damages caused by the fire to have been in excess of $90,000.

According to court records, after heading home from Des Moines, Graham passed by a barn at 1649 X Ave., in Boone County owned by Carolyn Hasbrook where he'd previously worked stacking hay. Angered by a perceived dispute with Hasbrook, Graham allegedly drove his vehicle through an open side door of the barn and attempted to start the hay on fire with a disposable lighter.

Graham told investigators the blaze hadn't started immediately, and so he left, only learning it had caught fire when his fire department pager, which he had as a member of the Kelley Fire Department, went off. He responded to the barn as a firefighter and found it fully engulfed, at which point he assisted other firefighters in extinguishing the blaze.

Hasbrook filled out a victim restitution claim in the case, tallying the total estimated list of cost incurred due to the loss of the barn, horses and farm equipment to be more than $90,000, although in the statement she wrote "the price does not show ... the loss of a particular bloodline that was special and the loss of a mare and two of her fillies with lines we can not replace."

Graham also faces three charges of second-degree arson in Story County, which will be held in October after a continuance filed by the defendant in that case was granted.

Second-degree arson is a Class C felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison on each count.

Copyright 2013 - Ames Tribune, Iowa

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