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Harlan man arrested for arson and other charges after burning an apartment structure in Harlan City

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

From WRIL -

Adam Mills - HCDC

WRIL has learned that after a fire was started around 4:30 pm Saturday afternoon in the city of Harlan, a man was arrested for causing the blaze.


Lt. Mitch Alford has updated WRIL with more details on the incident.


On Saturday November 28, 2020 the Harlan Police Department received a complaint of Adam and Andrew Mills arguing on First Street in Harlan. At the same time, Deputy Josh Sargent was at the Sheriff’s office and made aware of the incident.


Andrew Mills, brother to Adam, made contact with Deputy Sargent and advised that his brother was screaming and making threats to burn the apartment down. At the time, Adam Mills exited the building and began to run. Deputy Sargent attempted to stop Mills, but he did not comply and ran from the scene. The deputy then noticed smoke coming from the building and radioed the direction that Adam Mills was running.


Lt. Mitch Alford observed Adam Mills running on Clover Street near the Harlan Independent School and took Mills into custody without incident.


Deputy Sargent went into the apartment building filled with smoke in an attempt to get other occupants out safely. Deputy Sargent notified several occupants and they were able to get out of the building safely and then attempted to use a fire extinguisher, but it was unsuccessful.


The deputy had taken in a lot of smoke and was making his way out of the building. Harlan Police Officer Anthony Jenkins then arrived entering the building helping Deputy Sargent exit safely. Deputy Sargent went to Harlan ARH due to inhaling smoke and was treated and released in good condition. Both Deputy Sargent and Officer Jenkins showed true heroism.


Mills being arrested by LT. Alford

Lt Mitchell Alford's citation states that 22 year old Adam Mills went to the Commissary gas station and filled two water bottles up with gas after a disagreement with his land lord Johnnie Turner.


Mills then went back to the apartment and poured the gas throughout his apartment and set a blanket on fire. Multiple people occupied the other apartments and were inside at the time the fire was set.


As Mills exited the building Deputy Josh Sergeant attempted to stop him and he continued to flee onto Clover Street until he was taken into custody by the lieutenant.


Adam Mills was then lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center charged with arson - 1st degree, wanton endangerment - 1st degree, and fleeing or evading police (on foot) - 1st degree. He currently has no bond set.


No injuries were reported in this incident, but several people were displaced due to the fire. The American Red Cross is assisting them in finding accommodations.


Also responding to the blaze was the Harlan City, Loyall, and Sunshine Fire Departments, along with the Harlan County Sheriff's Department. The building appears to be a total loss.


Pictures supplied by Jeff Phillips, John Jones, and Mark Stewart.


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