Update: Former firefighter credited with saving lives in fire charged with arson

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Charles Jacob Rumley

MADISON, N.C. — The former Madison firefighter credited with alarming residents of an early morning apartment fire has been arrested and is suspected of starting the blaze.

Jacob Rumley was arrested on Tuesday night and was charged with one count of first degree arson, said Madison Police Chief Perry Webster.

Rumley is accused of starting a fire at Lassiter Square Apartments around 10 a.m. Tuesday at 308 Decatur St.

Chief Webster said it’s a shame a man claiming to have been a firefighter would put firefighters at risk on September 11, a day spent honoring first responders.

Rumley, who worked as a maintenance technician for the complex, allegedly alerted residents of the fire by running door to door shortly he allegedly started it.

Chrissy Urbina who lived in the apartment above where the fire was started said Rumley knocked on her door before she was aware of the fire.

“When I finally get to the door, he screamed, ‘Run, it’s a fire, get your animals, get everybody and get out,” said Urbina adding, “He was like a mad man, knocking on everybody’s door, getting everyone out.”

Rumley credited his swift action to his previous training as a firefighter with Madison Fire Department in an interview.

 “I just applied my training, in part, knew what I had to do. The building can be replaced but people can’t,” Rumley said.

Rumley is being held in the Rockingham County Jail under a $25,000 bond.

*** The video below is an interview with Rumley that aired in the 5 p.m. newscast before he was charged***

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