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Hoyer says airman who died fighting fire was doing what he loved; reward money increased in connection with arson probe

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The reward money leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for an arson fire that killed a member of the West Virginia Air National Guard has been increased to $20,000, according to the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

An anonymous donor contributed $15,000 to the reward money Monday.

Senior Airman Logan Young, 30, of Martinsburg, a firefighter assigned to the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, was killed while fighting a barn fire on Charles Town Road early Sunday morning. The fire was reported at just before 2 a.m.

Investigators have determined the barn blaze and a house fire set earlier about three miles away in Jefferson County are connected, according to the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

Governor Justice

Young joined the West Virginia Air National Guard in 2018. He was employed full-time with the Martinsburg-based firefighter unit. Young transitioned to the Air Guard after seven years in the Air Force. He was a combat veteran and served in the Middle East in 2014. According to the Guard, Young was the recipient of the numerous awards and decorations including and Expeditionary Service Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

Young is survived by his mother, father, brother and fiancée.

Gov. Jim Justice called the news of Young’s death an extremely sad day.

“I ask all West Virginians to join Cathy and I in praying for Logan Young’s family and the entire West Virginia National Guard family. Logan stepped up to defend our country and protect our freedoms, and served as a first responder here at home. We owe everything we have to brave men and women like him. We will do everything we can to provide support to his family and will never forget his service and sacrifice to this great State and to our great Country,” Justice said.

At his media briefing Monday on the coronavirus, Justice said a beam fell on top of Young claiming his life. Justice said he spoke with Young’s father on the phone and learned that Young and his fiancée had a baby on the way.

“His dad talked about how they’d been planning, that they had been together for six years and were planning so many things for their life ahead,” Justice said.

Major General Jim Hoyer, the state’s Adjutant General, said Young’s father said his son transitioned to the Guard specifically to be a firefighter.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer

“His dad told us that’s what he always wanted to be in life. So he was doing what he wanted to do,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer said Young epitomized what Guard members and first responders epitomize.

“That is selfless service and dedication to our families and our communities to make our world a better place,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer told the family the Guard will be with them from this point forward.

“You will always be a part of our West Virginia National Guard family,” he said.

“Our 167th Airlift Wing family is heartbroken over the tragic loss of Senior Airman Logan Young and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time,” state Col. Marty Timko, commander of the 167th Airlift Wing said earlier Monday in a news release. “We are grateful for Logan’s willingness to serve our country, our state, and our community. As a First Responder answering the call to support a local emergency, a finer example of commitment to service as a citizen-airman could not be found. His fellow firefighters described him as a quiet professional with a great heart who loved to help people and serve his country.”

All five members of the state’s congressional delegation also offered their condolences in separate statements.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office said anyone with information about the fires should call the West Virginia Arson Hotline at (800) 233-3473.

The West Virginia State Police was assisting with the investigation.

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