CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A fire at an old golf course in Cortland is being called suspicious and a man is now facing charges in connection to the crime.
It happened Tuesday morning at the now-closed Walnut Run Golf Course on E. Main Street.
Thomas McIntire, 44, is in the Trumbull County Jail accused of setting fire to the golf course’s old maintenance barn.
McIntire is facing several charges including arson, breaking and entering, and criminal trespass.
“We got a call around 6:30 this morning. When the crews got on scene, we had a fully involved structure,” said Cortland Fire Chief David Rea.
The fire was so large that smoke could be seen from the surrounding areas and nearby Route 11.
Caller: “There is a big fire going on.”
Dispatcher: “Do you see flames?”
Another caller: “Oh, yeah. It’s billowing.”
Crews closed the roadway nearby while fighting the fire.
The state fire marshal’s office was called in to help with the investigation since firefighters say several factors led them to believe it was suspicious. They said the electricity to the building had been shut off and the gas appliances inside had been removed.
“In addition, a sheriff’s deputy, one of their on-duty sergeants was heading this way and noticed an individual coming out of the woods in a close proximity to the fire,” Chief Rea said.
“He was covered in mud and dirt so they made contact with him and after an investigation by Detective Weston, it was determined that he was the subject that set fire to the barn,” said Cortland Police Chief David Morris.
The man, now identified as McIntire, was taken into custody. He was arraigned on the charges Wednesday morning in Central District Court.
He’s being held in jail on a $5,000 bond.
“This probably would have been an unsolved arson had they not made such a quick arrest, had they not located him so quickly,” Chief Morris said.