Police: Laurel County man violates burn ban; starts fire near homes and businesses

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LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - One man in Laurel County is behind bars after Sheriff's Deputy Allen Turner found him eating a hamburger in the middle of a growing fire.

(Laurel County Sheriff's Office)

The release from the Laurel County Sheriff's Office shows that Deputy Allen saw large amounts of smoke behind businesses near Murray Lane and HWY 80 in London and decided to investigate.

"He actually saw the smoke. It had gotten to the degree that there was a pretty good cloud of smoke and fire in that area as he was driving along the roadway," said Deputy Gilbert Acciardo.

When he arrived at the source of the fire, he found Thomas S. Saylor, 44, sitting in the middle of the burning area eating a hamburger, and ignoring Allen's attempts to get his attention.

When trying to pull Saylor from the area, reports show the man resisted, yelling at the deputy and fighting him.

When they were a safe distance from the flames, Saylor reportedly admitted to starting the fire by burning leaves. The man also grew angry, and stated he was "an American War general of West Virginia."

Police say they believe the officer caught Saylor in the fire early into the incident, and are glad he did.

"Because of the extremely dry conditions, it would have spread rather quickly. So, we think our deputy happened to be at the right place at the right time," Acciardo added.

Saylor was found to be under the influence during the incident.

In addition to the burn ban violation, he was also charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and public intoxication.