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Arrests made in connection to suspicious brush fires

MORRISONVILLE - New York State Police have made two arrests in connection with a rash of brush fires in the Morrisonville area.

Chad R. Smith, 17, and a 15-year-old male, whose name was not released due to his age, were arrested June 28 each on counts of fifth-degree arson. The arrests occurred after an extensive investigation into more than 20 brush fires which occurred within the Morrisonville Fire District since April.

Eric R. Day, director of the Clinton County Office of Emergency Services, said the arrests, which were made following an interview of the subjects by state police, come as a relief to local fire departments.

"Morrisonville and other fire departments have been kept pretty busy with these fires, so it's good to finally have a cause in hand," said Day. "Arson is a tough crime to solve, so it's good to finally have an answer."

The first reported suspicious fire occurred April 13, when brush was set on fire near a trail leading into the woods at Macomb Reservation State Park, off Norrisville Road. Subsequent suspicious fires were set in the weeks that followed, in rural locations such as Kent Falls and Turner roads in the town of Schuyler Falls as well as Military Turnpike and Banker, Bullis, Brown, Irish Settlement and Rand Hill roads in the town of Plattsburgh. Other fires occurred closer to the Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department within the hamlet of Morrisonville off Mason, River and Ladue streets.

One of the largest fires was one that occurred May 25 in an approximately two-mile area behind the Clinton County Fairgrounds.

However, through the cooperation of law enforcement, fire and emergency management agencies, Day said he is glad to see the case brought to what he believes will be an end.

"I am happy no one, including either of the two young men, or any of the fire service first responders were injured or killed as a result of these fires," Day further stated in a press release.

Smith was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Schuyler Falls Court for Thursday, July 2. The 15-year-old male was issued an appearance ticket for Clinton County Family Court and released to the custody of his mother.

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