Jonathan Bess, 22, of 411 Tyne Road and William Billy Hodge, 23, of 1315 E. Castle Street, were arrested and charged with reckless endangerment following a truck fire incident at Windcrest Apartments (1315 E. Castle Street) Wednesday afternoon. They are each being held at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office on $3,000 bond.
Just before 3:30, Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department’s Districts 3 and 8 and Engine 1 were dispatched to a vehicle fire at the apartment complex. A vehicle with flames showing was reportedly backed up to and endangering Building D.
When crews arrived on scene, they discovered an old Dodge Ram pickup truck fully involved backed up within inches of Building D.
“Crews did an excellent job knocking down the fire,” said Captain Tony Lehew. “They put a good stop on it and kept it from causing much damage to the apartment building.” According to Lehew, only a shutter, window, and blinds were damaged due to heat, but the inside of Apartment D1 was not affected. “A vehicle next to the truck received heat damage to the front bumper, wheel well, and headlight on the passenger side,” Lehew added.
The Fire Marshal’s Office arrived on scene to investigate. According to Assistant Fire Marshal Carl Peas, Bess and Hodge had tried earlier in the day to take the truck to the junkyard. “When they found out the junkyard wouldn’t accept a vehicle with fuel in it, they decided to take it back to the apartment complex and drain the tank,” said Peas. “They were drilling holes into the gas tank to release the gas into the grass when it ignited,” he continued.
Once the two admitted to the act, Murfreesboro Police Department took them into custody and they were taken to RCSO.
“The truck is a total loss,” said Peas. “Thankfully no one was hurt and there was only minor damage to the apartment building and adjacent vehicle.”