Crestview Couple Faces Arson Charge for House Fire
CONTACT: Nina Banister or Brannon Jordan
CRESTVIEW—A Crestview couple is facing felony charges stemming from the suspicion that they intentionally set their home on fire.
Zachary Lee Dalton and his wife Kellie Elizabeth Hahn, both 24, were arrested Wednesday evening by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office based on warrants completed by detectives with the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Office, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI). The couple was booked into the Okaloosa County Jail on charges of first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. If convicted on all of the charges, the couple could be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison. The arrests followed an investigation by the BFAI, the United States Air Force Office (Hurlburt Field, Florida and Maxwell Air Force Station, Alabama), Office of Special Investigations, (OSI), North Okaloosa Fire Rescue and the Crestview Fire Department.
“The investigation found that their actions put the lives of firefighters and their neighbors at risk, and they should be held accountable,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal and oversees the BFAI. “I commend everyone for their work on this investigation and thank everyone who came forward with information that led to these arrests.”
Dalton and Hahn had embarked on a three-week vacation to West Virginia when they checked into an Alabama hotel room on September 4, 2007, the day before firefighters responded to a fire at their home, located at 173 John King Road. Upon reviewing the scene, firefighters and Arson Investigators determined the fire originated in the attic but quickly spread throughout the house, destroying the couple’s home and causing damage to their neighbors’ homes on both sides. Helping to fuel the massive fire was a propane bottle – left turned on – found inside the couple’s home. Damage to the home was estimated at $160,000.
After the fire was extinguished, firefighters talked with neighbors who indicated suspicious elements relating to the fire and the couple’s actions. BFAI Detectives were called in to determine the origin and cause of the fire, which included on-scene investigation and forensic testing which subsequently revealed the fire had been intentionally set. The Bureau also determined that Dalton checked himself into an Alabama medical center for treatment of burn injuries sustained the morning of the house fire.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office last year, distributed a training video to fire, police and sheriff’s departments throughout Florida to help better investigate alleged ‘accidental’ kitchen fires.
The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that works extensively with other state and local fire departments as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin. Anyone with information about this case or any incident of fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON).
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.