Hawkins man accused of burning Baileyton residence a day before it was to be auctioned

Kenneth Rader

BAILEYTON — A Mount Carmel man has been charged with arson and insurance fraud, among other offenses, for allegedly setting his residence in Baileyton on fire a year ago, one day before the house was to be auctioned by the bank.

On Jan. 11, 2015, Baileyton police received a 911 call that a burglary and arson were taking place at the residence of Kenneth Rader, 58, at 920 Bailey St.

The United Volunteer Fire Department responded and was able to contain the fire to the master bedroom.

Baileyton Police Department Chief Joshua Ferguson said Rader was immediately suspected, and he notified the state fire marshal’s office, which investigated the blaze.

“Whoever set the fire shut the door to keep the fire contained to that one room,” Ferguson said. “When we have fires that are contained to a bedroom, a lot of times that possibly could indicate a domestic situation, so that sparked our interest. Plus, when he claimed the missing items, there were other items in the home that obviously a normal burglar would not have left.”

Later police discovered that Rader was only a day from losing the home.

“This house was up for auction the very next day at the Greene County Courthouse for being delinquent on his mortgage,” Ferguson said. “It was being repossessed. We didn’t learn that until later on in the investigation, but that confirmed to us even more that something was not right. He was behind on his mortgage and he was losing his home.”

Rader lived in the residence with his wife, who was at work at the time of the fire.

Rader reportedly told police he came home and found his house burning, then called 911.

Later on, he went through the house with police and named missing items valued at about $5,000.

State arson investigators believe the fire was started with gasoline and a roll of paper towels.

The rest of the house sustained smoke damage, but the fire damage was contained to the master bedroom.

Ferguson said, “He received a small amount of money from his insurance company to hold him over while they processed his claim. When he was suspected of the arson, however, the insurance company has now denied his claim.”

According to a Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance press release, Rader was arrested by Baileyton and Mount Carmel police on Jan. 5 at his residence on Oak Street in Mount Carmel.

Aside from arson and insurance fraud, he was charged with filing a false report and reckless endangerment.

The reckless endangerment charge stems from Rader making a false report, causing fire, EMS and police to make an emergency response, Ferguson said.

Rader was transported by Baileyton police to the Greene County Jail, where he is being held on a $62,000 bond.                 

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