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.