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Two arrested in Frankfort arson investigation

Jennifer Matthews (left) and Joshua Smith (right)

FRANKFORT, Ind.– Frankfort police arrested two people Tuesday in connection with an arson investigation.

Investigators say two fires were called in within minutes of each other on Aug. 3.

One fire was in the 1300 block of Clinton Street at 1:58 a.m. That fire was knocked down quickly.

The second fire was reported on State Road 39 North at 2:10 a.m. A fire engine was pulled from the first fire and 12 off-duty firefighters were called in. Battalion Chief Jamie Michael also requested help from the Mulberry and Rossville Fire Departments.

The State Road 39 structure was destroyed, with the scene cleared around 6:45 a.m. No injuries were reported at either fire scene.

After an investigation into the fires, Jennifer Matthews and Joshua Smith were arrested on charges of arson and insurance fraud. Smith was also charged with conspiracy to commit arson.

“We spent more than 30 personnel hours investigating the 39 North fire and a week later, there are two people in custody on arson charges. This case was a true joint effort between our department’s Investigation Division and Clinton County Sheriff’s Office detectives. As fire investigators, our team worked diligently to identify the fire origin and then we shared information with the Sheriff’s Office. Detective Jerrad Blacker did an excellent job with the suspects’ interviews and the criminal charges,” said Jeremy Ward.

Fire Chief John Kirby expressed his appreciation for his investigative department.

“Our firefighters did a great job on both fires that morning. Fire Investigator Jeremy Ward along with our Investigation Division members and Detective Blacker are extremely dedicated public safety servants who did everything right to identify and arrest those now charged in the serious crime of arson,” said Kirby.