KINGSLAND Authorities say they've arrested two suspects - including a former volunteer firefighter - in connection with a fire that destroyed Kingsland High School five years ago.
The Cleveland County Herald reported Wednesday that authorities arrested Chris Jones, 22, of Fordyce and Dustin Torrence, 23, of Warren on suspicion of arson in the May 2003 fire.
Torrence, a former firefighter with the Kingsland Volunteer Fire Department, turned himself in last week and was released on $10,000 bond, said Capt. Gary Young of the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office.
Jones is serving a three-year prison sentence at the state's Varner Unit on a hot check charge out of Dallas County. Young said both Jones and Torrence had been convicted on numerous arson charges - unrelated to the school fire - and had already served their sentences.
The arrests came after authorities received a tip from someone who reportedly heard one of the men talking about the fire, Young said. That information led authorities to other witnesses who provided enough evidence for the arrest warrants, Young said.
The pair faces a June 10 court appearance in Cleveland County Circuit Court. Both face felony arson charges and face up to life in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
The school housed about 150 high school students. The district has since consolidated with Rison to form the Cleveland County School District.
Young said the loss from the fire was about $2.1 million.
"It was such a waste when you consider not only the money value but the historical and sentimental value as well," Young told the newspaper.