ASHBURN — A man who allegedly set three fires in this community from Sept. 29 to Oct. 25 was arrested by the Ashburn Police Department Monday and charged with three counts of arson in the first degree, three counts of burglary in the first degree, two counts of criminal trespass and four counts of aggravated assault, all felonies.
Willie Fred Poke, 37, of Ashburn, was charged in connection to fires that were intentionally set at 405 S. Main St., 404 S. Gordon St. and 331 S. Main St., according to a release from Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King’s office.
“Due to Mr. Poke’s repeated, life-threatening actions and destruction of historic homes, this arrest was a top priority for local and state law enforcement officials,” King said. “I would like to applaud the investigators in my office, along with the city of Ashburn Police Department and the city of Ashburn Fire Department for their hard work in bringing Mr. Poke to justice.”
The first fire was set by Poke, King’s office said, at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 29 at 405 S. Main; the second at 3:20 a.m. on Oct. 14 at 404 South Gordon, and the third at 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 25 at 331 S. Main. The second fire was set in a storage building, which spread to a structure occupied by four people, leading to the assault charges. The other two buildings that were burned were unoccupied.
King’s office said first degree arson is punishable by a fine of no more than $50,000 or by a prison term between one and 20 years, or both.