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Electrical fire leads to arrest

COVINGTON -- A Kirkland Road resident who was allegedly stealing power from Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation got more than he bargained for when his electrical rigging apparently caught his house on fire and resulted in him going to jail, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

Jesse Anderson Jr., 51, of 1190 Kirkland Road was arrested and charged with theft of services after firefighters with Newton County Fire Services were called to his home to extinguish an electrical fire.

NCFS Capt. Robert Thomas said the call came in about 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Firefighters arrived to find the attic ablaze, he said.

"The fire was contained to the attic. It burned a hole in the room about 12 feet in diameter. There was limited smoke damage to the inside of the house," Thomas said.

According to an NCSO incident report, fire service personnel advised an NCSO deputy that "the occupants of the home were stealing power and that it caused the fire."

The report stated there was no power meter at the residence, and according to Snapping Shoals EMC, there had been no electrical service furnished to the house for several months.

"Someone had attached a pair of jumper cables to the power line just before it entered the roof of the house. Attached to the jumper cables was an extension cord and attached to that extension cord was another extension cord which entered the back side of the house where the fire started," the incident report states.

The report goes on to say "the homeowner" stated he wasn't stealing power and he had only been living at the address for six months. When the deputy asked the man if he had been receiving a bill for his power during that time, "he stated he had an electrical problem and he had an electrician fix the problem ... He stated the electrician told him he was 'good to go.' The homeowner told the deputy the electrician must have gotten the power bill."

Washington said it had been ascertained that $1,295 worth of electrical power was stolen.