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City sacks firefighter charged with setting roadside fires in Polk County

Timothy Wayne Stewart Timothy Wayne Stewart

A Hendersonville firefighter charged with setting roadside fires in Polk County has been fired from the city department, Fire Chief James Miller said in a statement Thursday night.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday that it had filed nine misdemeanor charges against Timothy Wayne Stewart, 33, of Columbus, after a joint investigation involving the county fire marshal and the N.C. Forest Service. Hours later, Miller, who had just been sworn in as Hendersonville's new fire chief, released a statement saying Stewart had been discharged.

"The alleged actions of Mr. Stewart are unacceptable and do not align with the mission of the Hendersonville Fire Department," Miller said. "We have cooperated with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies during their investigation. Upon notification of the charges facing Mr. Stewart, we acted efficiently, and his termination from our department became effective on March 5, 2020."

Stewart, who was also a former Mill Spring volunteer firefighter and had been a paid firefighter with the Columbus Fire Department, is charged with setting fire to woods/lands/fields.