Former Volunteer Firefighter Guilty of Arson Finally in State Prison

A former Texoma volunteer firefighter sentenced to 10 years in prison for setting fires around Wichita Falls is finally in a state prison after spending almost 4 years in the Wichita County Jail.

Kyle Harmon, the son of a volunteer fire department chief, was arrested in September 2010 after dozens of wild fires in the Charlie and FM 171 area kept firefighters rushing from one to another for years. Authorities say Harmon admitted setting one fire that severely burned fellow firefighter Dwight Murphy in 2005.

Kyle was found guilty of arson causing bodily injury, but he was not transferred to a state prison until this month.

Sheriff David Duke says Harmon has been part of the Prisoner in Absentia program working in the kitchen and laundry. He said inmates who are not violent offenders and do not pose a flight risk can request to be in the program and serve part of their prison sentence in jail. But the prison system has begun enforcing rules that require inmates to first be sent to prison after their sentence, then if local authorities want them returned, they can obtain a bench warrant.

Duke says Harmon will be coming back on a warrant, but not to re-enter the work program. Instead he will face charges of possession of contraband in jail. Duke says the contraband was found recently, which he says he may talk more about later. A state corrections official says it's unusual for an inmate with a 10 year prison sentence to stay in a county jail so long.

When Harmon was arrested back in 2010, investigators say he admitted setting about 3 dozen fires in three years. But they also said they suspected him of scores more suspicious fires over the years..

Harmon is now in the Middleton Prison Unit in Abilene.

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