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Volunteer Firefighter Pleads Guilty to Several Arson Charges

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 323

Blake WalshA former Williamsfield volunteer firefighter has pleaded guilty to intentionally setting a number of fires both in the Galesburg and Williamsfield areas over about a six-month period.

Knox County Circuit Court records indicate 24-year-old Blake Walsh pleaded guilty yesterday in three separate cases to charges of Arson.  Charges of Arson are expected to be dismissed in two other felony cases, as will be charges of Criminal Damage to Property in all five cases.

Walsh was arrested in April of this year. Prosecutors say Walsh set two-dozen hay bales on fire in the Williamsfield area between November of last year and this past April, as well, as a dumpster behind a business in the Seminary Square Shopping Center in Galesburg.  A joint investigation was eventually conducted between Galesburg, Williamsfield, and Knox County authorities.

Walsh will be sentenced September 24th in the case. He faces as much as seven years in prison for each arson count. A judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation be conducted, as well as a mental health evaluation.