Joshua Cornelius

Joshua Cornelius

DRY CREEK • A Dry Creek man has been charged with arson after a mobile home caught fire last week, according to Tippah County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Jeremy Rainey.

Joshua Cornelius, 26, was arrested and charged with arson of the mobile home on Wednesday, Oct. 2. The mobile home is located on County Road 547 in the Dry Creek community. Cornelius is currently being held in the Tippah County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

The fire occurred during a statewide burn ban issued by Gov. Phil Bryant last week. A neighbor driving down the road saw the fire and called 9-1-1.

Dry Creek Fire Department responded to the structure fire around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Mitchell Fire Department was called as backup.

Dry Creek Assistant Fire Chief Heath Pannell said when firefighters arrived it appeared that garbage had been stuffed around the corners of the mobile home. The grass around the home was also on fire. Cornelius was sitting on a stump watching the fire when they arrived. He told firefighters he did not know there was a burn ban.

Firefighters made entry into the structure and found it ransacked and derogatory remarks had been spray painted on the walls. The sinks were torn from the walls also and water was running into the home.

The home was vacant at the time of the fire and received minor fire damages.

According to Pannell, firefighters were concerned that the grass fire would reach a soybean field directly behind the mobile home. Dry Creek worked quickly to extinguish the fire behind the home while Mitchell put out the fire in front of the home. Only about five feet of the field received damage.

Pannell said firefighters do their best to save the lives and property in their district and that of their personnel. "We have to respond to emergencies," said Pannell. "We do not know what we are going into. It was 100 degrees Wednesday. We put on equipment, make sure no one is in the home, and fight fires in the heat. There is only so much we can do when it is so dry and the terrain like it is."

Pannell said that this is not the first time Dry Creek Fire Department has responded to a fire involving Cornelius.

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