By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
A Fostoria man has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for setting his own residence on fire in September.
Thomas R. Barfield, 59, pleaded guilty Friday in Hancock County Common Pleas Court to two counts of aggravated arson, both first-degree felonies, and a fourth-degree felony arson charge. The fourth-degree felony charge was amended from a second-degree felony.
Barfield was intoxicated, and interfered with firefighters as they attempted to extinguish flames at the 550 W. Center St. home, Fostoria Police Chief Keith Loreno told The Review Times in September.
“He was grabbing fire hoses while firefighters were attempting to extinguish the fire. He failed to comply on numerous attempts to what officers were telling him,” Loreno said after the Sept. 25 fire.
“He acted in a manner that we would never want anyone to act at the scene of an emergency.”
Police used a Taser on Barfield, Loreno said.
Barfield had “a lot of family issues” and “some alcohol issues” at the time of the fire, his attorney, Robert Miller, said in court Friday.
Miller said Barfield is a “changing person” and “this is a wake-up call for him.”
Barfield made no statement in court about the fire.
Miller and Assistant County Prosecutor Colleen Limerick jointly recommended the sentence — four years for each aggravated arson charge, to be served concurrently, plus nine months for the lower-level felony, to be served consecutively — and Judge Jonathan Starn imposed that.
Having been in jail since the fire, Barfield has 276 days of credit for time already served.
Barfield will have to register as an arson offender for the rest of his life. He also must make restitution of $936.80 to the State Fire Marshal’s Office and $611.21 to the Fostoria Police Department.
The Fostoria Fire Department initially believed children were trapped in the home, Chief Brian Herbert told the Review Times, but found no one inside.
The first-degree felony charges were for creating “a substantial risk of serious physical harm” to two different people, and the third charge was for “physical harm to an occupied structure,” according to the grand jury indictment.