MAXTON — An 18-year-old volunteer firefighter was charged this week with filing a false report after he set a fire under a relative’s home and then reported it, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Payton Patrick Locklear, a volunteer with the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department, set a fire to some paper towels under his great-grandmother’s home at 492 Kever Road, then extinguished the fire, according to sheriff’s Lt. Brian Duckworth, an arson investigator. When smoke was still coming from under the home, Locklear reported the fire to authorities as an air-conditioner fire.
Locklear, a student at Purnell Swett High School, was charged with filing a false report and released under $1,000 secured bond. His great-grandmother did not wish to press charges, Duckworth said.
No one was in the home when the fire occurred, and there was no damage to the home, Duckworth said.
According to Duckworth, Locklear was “put off” the volunteer fire squad after the incident.
Duckworth said Locklear told him “he did not know why” he set the fire.
“There’s always that possibility this could have gotten away from him,” Duckworth said. “It could have gotten ugly, so I’m not taking it lightly.”