Homeless Man Reportedly Starts Grassfire, Tries To Put It Out With Library’s Extinguisher

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

VAN BUREN (KFSM) – Officials say a homeless man started a grassfire outside of the Crawford County Library in Van Buren on Tuesday morning, then grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out.

Firefighters and Van Buren Police Department officers responded just before 11 a.m. Monday morning to the library on Main Street in reference to a large amount of smoke and fire coming from a grassfire on the south side of the building. Crews quickly put out the fire, which did not cause any damage to the library.

“When officers arrived on scene, they observed a male subject identified as Bradley McElrath running around with a fire extinguisher stating that he was a firefighter,” according to a statement released by Van Buren police. “He was acting very erratic and disorderly.”

Responding officers arrested McElrath on suspicion of second-degree criminal mischief.

Danalene Porter, the library’s director, said the man lit a piece of paper on fire, then dropped it at the foot of a tree near the library before walking into the library. The fire kindled into a grassfire outside of the library, but did not catch the tree on fire, she said.

After seeing the fire, McElrath grabbed the library’s fire extinguisher and attempted to put it out, but the fire was too big, Porter said. Responding firefighters quickly knocked the fire out, leaving a patch of burned grass, but no major property damage.


  • cowboyNick

    Probably wanted to be arrested to get free meals and a bed at the jail! Where else would he find a meal and a bed?

  • Mark Smith

    Cowboy, can you not connect the dots that he is homeless because he is Mentally I’ll? It never ceases to amaze me that people from the Bible beltso often miss the oopopportunity to live their faith in favor of judging others. Its equally amazing to me that we as a society continuously shirk our responsibility to the mentally I’ll so that we can keep the stigma alive in a very selfish and unconscious attempt at feeling better about ourselves because at least we’re not crazy like “them.”. Which is crazy isn’t it?

  • Baked Potato

    Hey Mark? Seriously! Homeless people have been known to commit mischief and be arrested so they can have a warm place to stay, especially during cold weather. I’m sorry that you felt it was your place to call Cowboy out on his comment. You my friend, sounds like a man with a paper a55hole. Look it up!

Comments are closed.