Firefighter charged in fellow firefighter’s death

Editor’s noteSome of the details of this story were originally and exclusively reported by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and were not properly attributed by MetroNews for which we apologize.

IAEGER, W.Va. — A McDowell County volunteer firefighter is in jail and charged with causing the death of a fellow firefighter.

Robert Beckner

Robert Lee Beckner, 36, of Iaeger, a member of the Iaeger VFD, was charged Thursday with murder and arson. He allegedly set fire to his own home last Saturday morning. Authorities said the fire rekindled Sunday and that’s when Iaeger VFD member Russell Roberson, 42, took in too much smoke when he was trying to keep someone from entering a mobile home beside Beckner’s home that caught on fire during the rekindle. Roberson died on the way to the hospital.

According to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, the criminal complaint filed by investigators Thursday said Beckner has confessed to setting the blaze at 908 West Virginia Avenue.

Roberson, of Grapevine, was a firefighter for 15 years. He’ll be remembered in funeral services Friday.

“After rescuing a local person from his burning home, Russ became ill and passed away during the early morning hours of June 21, 2020 enroute to Welch Community Hospital,” his obituary said.

Beckner was arraigned Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree arson, is being held in the Southwestern Regional Jail.

More News

Manchin, Capito discuss Interstate 68 business environment with Maryland colleagues
West Virginia's U.S. senators are working with two of their Senate colleagues on trying to motivate industries and businesses to move near Interstate 68.
August 8, 2020 - 9:45 pm
38-year-old Kanawha woman is among four latest W.Va. covid-related deaths
Kanawha County Day Report Center, Southern Regional Jail keep close watch on virus spread.
August 8, 2020 - 8:31 pm
Justice: Testing Monday at Veterans Nursing Home in Clarksburg
Governor says nurse recently tested positive.
August 8, 2020 - 3:15 pm
213 homes completed under RISE West Virginia
There are 191 active cases in the RISE West Virginia program.
August 8, 2020 - 1:05 pm