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Convicted arsonist allegedly admits to more fires in Belmont County

BELLAIRE — A man convicted of burning down a house on Wheeling Island allegedly admitted to starting a series of other fires over the last five years, according to Bellaire Police Chief Dick Flanagan.

Flanagan said Friday that Jason Kincannon, 25, admitted to police that he started a string of fires in the city, ranging from a loose tarp over a fence to an occupied residence, since 2016. Kincannon was convicted of second degree arson in April by Ohio County Judge Michael Oleajz and sentenced to four years in prison, which is being served at Huttonsville Correctional Center.

Flanagan said they had worked with Wheeling detectives to identify Kincannon, who had used the same methods to start several fires in Bellaire as he did in Wheeling. Flanagan said the fifth and most recent arson Kincannon allegedly committed in Bellaire, a residence on Monroe Street, he was seen on video

“In all five of these arsons, we knew who the suspect was, but we didn’t have enough to go off of because arson cases are so difficult. They’re extremely hard to prove,” he said. “On the fifth arson this guy had done, he was on video … and it matched the same … characteristics of the one we had here.”

Flanagan said the Belmont County Prosecutor’s Office is looking to bring aggravated arson charges against Kincannon.

“We had gone down there (Thursday) to talk to him, he made the confession, written statement. I was particularly interested, and very much wanted the information on the (fifth) fire here, because a volunteer fireman fell off a ladder and had both of his legs broken,” he said. “He’s from Martins Ferry, … as far as I hear, he’s back to work and recovering well.

“… (Kincannon) tried running the same game as he did with the Wheeling detectives. He thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. Shortly thereafter, he admitted he started the fire, he didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt.”

Flanagan said Kincannon had started fires as early as 2016, which included a fire in the basement of the 7 Inn, a tarp on the fence near Bardwill’s, then a dumpster near Advance Auto Parts, then an abandoned house near 41st and Trumbull, and finally an occupied house on Monroe Street.

Flanagan said the house on Monroe Street was occupied by a mother and son who worked away from home during the week, but spent weekends at the house.

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