Investigators Testify in Salvage Yard Arson Trial


The arson trial of a Knox man whose business went up in flames a year ago yesterday will resume Monday morning. A pair of investigators from the state fire marshal’s office testified in James Campbell’s trial yesterday. They both took part in the investigation in the fire that destroyed the buildings Campbell owns at the intersection of U.S. 35 and Toto Road which were home to C&C Salvage, Starke County Recycling and Campbell’s Tire Barn and Shop. Both agree the fires were set and started in two areas of the shop.

Fred Sumpter has been with the state as a cause and origin investigator for nearly 20 years. He testified that based on burn patterns the fire had two areas of origin located 80 to 90 feet apart. One was at the west end of the shop and started outside, and the other started in the area known as the tin shop that is closer to U.S. 35. Sumpter says this points to an incendiary or set fire. Campbell was arrested last March 28th on an arson charge. If convicted of arson as a Class A felony he faces between 20 and 50 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.