Firefighter Faces Arson Charges in Linn

1 decade 10 months 3 weeks ago November 06, 2005 Nov 6, 2005 Sunday, November 06 2005 Sunday, November 06, 2005 7:21:50 PM CST in News

It's the crime that shocked a small Mid-Missouri town.

A fire fighter says he did it. It happened in Linn, the county seat of Osage County.

An arson investigation takes a surprising turn. The fire happened very close to where Claudia Gallardo works jsut 20 feet away.

"Everybody was running behind the restaurant and everyone was afraid of something happening downwstairs,"  said Claudia Gallardo restaurant owner.

Gallardo was afraid her restaurant would catch fire too, she took her kids outside.

Now, 19-year-old Kent Buhr, a firefighter himself, faces charges of second degree arson, a class C Felony.

According to police Buhr had been a volunteer firefighter for 6 months.

"He was at all the meetings, at all our training eager to get extra training," said Linn Fire Chief Ron Hoffman.

But police noticed some suspicious behavior two weeks prior to last week's arson.

Neighbors say a man came to report smoke coming from that roof before the fire was even evident," said Hoffman.

A Linn police officer noticed Buhr walking up from 12th street about 30 minutes before the house was burned. The house was vacant, but a firefighter's injury caused Buhr's charges to be up-graded.

"It was quite a kick for all of us," said Hoffman.

Firefighters in Linn are volunteers, most attend Linnn State Technical College with Buhr.

The fire chief says Buhr didn't understand the consequences of his actions even after he confessed his own crime.

The fire chief says Buhr also admitted to setting a haybale fire. The chief says the two arsons could be tried together.

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