West Virginia man accused of arson, murder after forestry worker dies fighting wildfire


A West Virginia man has been charged with murder after a forestry worker was killed trying to extinguish a fire the man is accused of setting.

The fire was reported on Tuesday night in the Tucker Hollow area of Fayette County. Overnight, the fire grew to consume several hundred acres. On Thursday, forester Cody Mullens was fatally injured by a falling tree while fighting the fire.

The Division of Forestry was able to determine that the fire was intentionally set, Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley said Friday in a news release. The arson investigation led to the arrest of David A. Bass, of Kimberly.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivers his annual State of the State address in the House Chambers at the state capitol in Charleston, West Virginia, on Jan. 11, 2023.


In addition to the murder charge, Bass is charged with four counts of felony wildland arson. On Saturday, Bass was being held at the Southern Regional Jail. Jail records do not list an attorney for Bass.

Gov. Jim Justice on Thursday issued a statement about Mullens’ death.

Jim Justice, owner of the Greenbrier Resort, looks over the 18th green during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic on The Old White Course at the Greenbrier Resort on July 29, 2010, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.  

“Our state foresters are some of the most dedicated workers in our state, putting their lives on the line to protect our communities from wildfires, and we owe them all, especially Cody, an enormous debt of gratitude,” the statement reads.

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