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NEMAHA, Iowa -- A new volunteer firefighter has been accused of intentionally setting a corn crib on fire so he could help the Nemaha Fire Department put out the blaze.

Brent Alan Mack, 25, who recently joined the department, and another man, Alexander James Lilly, 18, have been charged with second-degree arson in connection with the fire just north of Nemaha that Mack reported in the early morning hours Monday. Both men live in nearby Newell.

The Nemaha, Early and Sac City fire departments responded to the report of a structure fire at 2531 180th St. at around 1:28 a.m. Monday, according to a news release from the Sac County Sheriff's Office. The emergency responders found the crib fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. 

The structure was deemed a total loss. No injuries were reported. 

Brent Alan Mack

Mack

Alexander James Lilly

Lilly

Two days later, the Sac County Sheriff's Office learned Mack reported the fire. Suspicions grew after another firefighter found Mack had arrived first at the station even though Mack lived at least 15 minutes away in Newell.

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Court records say Mack later told investigators that he, Lilly and an unnamed 17-year-old girl from Newell had driven around the area, looking for a place to set a fire, and settled on the corn crib.

According to authorities, Mack and Lilly attempted to set several fires at the crib, ultimately using an accelerant on the main level. 

Mack and Lilly were each booked into the Sac County Jail on $10,000 bonds. The 17-year-old girl was charged with conspiracy to commit a non-forcible felony. She was referred to juvenile court authorities and released to a parent. 

Court records didn't immediately list names of attorneys for the defendants. 

The Newell Police Department and Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Sac County Sheriff's Office with the investigation.

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