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Man Files Lawsuit Against Perry Volunteer Fire Department
Updated April 5, 2017 6:55 AM | Filed under: Crime
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Adam Selbee

(BEDFORD) - Duane Connaughton, who lost his mobile home to arson, has filed a lawsuit against Perry Volunteer Fire Department.

The complaint, filed by attorneys Brett E. Nelson and Fernando L. Diaz of Indianapolis, is seeking damages for arson, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, negligence, gross negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence per se and other violations of state law.

The lawsuit was filed against Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department; Max Peters, the chief of the fire department; Adam Selbee, who is charged with burning Connaughton's home and who is Peters' grandson; and the township trustee Bob Phillips.

The suit is seeking relief in the amount of $44,612 and continues to accrue because of ongoing emotional distress. Connaughton claims he has suffered anxiety and panic attacks as a result of the arson and damages as well as financial stress because he now has to rent a home. He also intends to seek civil damages.

Connaughton was in the process of remodeling his modular home at 263 Cobb Lane and was living in Bedford when Selbee allegedly set fire to the home on September 6th.

According to a Lawrence County Superior Court II probable cause affidavit, Selbee admitted on July 19 that he walked to the 1936 Springville gymnasium with a cup of gasoline, poured that gasoline in the kitchen area and set the gasoline on fire.

Police say 19-year-old Selbee admitted to setting three vacant structure fires- including Connaughton's home and three hay bale fires, all which occurred in Perry Township.

Officers say Selbee was either the first firefighter to arrive on the scene or the reporting source for the fires.

He is facing four counts of arson and three counts of criminal mischief. He posted a $5,000 cash bond and was released from jail. He is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on April 20th at 1 p.m. in Lawrence Superior Court II.

The complaint says Chief Max Peters knew or should have know that his grandson was involved in the arsons. It also states, Peters was responsible for supervising, training and screening Selbee and the other members of the department in his role as chief and had a responsibility to inform the public of the arsons. The lawsuit states Chief Peters failed to meet those responsibilities.

The lawsuit is also against Trustee Bob Phillips because they claim he is responsible for providing fire protection to people living in the township. He is also responsible for hiring fire department personnel and contracting a fire department for the township.

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