Ocheleta firefighter charged in string of arson cases in Washington, Osage counties

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Okla. — An 18-year-old firefighter and Oklahoma National Guardsman has been arrested and charged in a string of recent arson cases in Washington and Osage counties.

Investigators say Dakoda Davis, a volunteer with the Ochelata Fire Department, confessed to setting several structure and wildland fires.

The investigation by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry started in early December around the time a series of suspicious fires had happened on Hughes Ranch south of Bartlesville. The victim told investigators he owns more than 10,000 acres of land and felt like the fires were intentionally set.

In late December, special agents met with Ochelata Fire Chief Kelly Niessen, whose department responds to all fires in the area of Hughes Ranch.

Niessen told investigators he had three new firefighters. One who had just turned 18, Dakoda Davis.

Investigators say, according to department reports, Davis was the only Ochelata firefighter who responded to nearly all recent 20 or so suspicious fires in the Ochelata and Ramona areas. Ochelata FD is a volunteer department, so firefighters are paged and respond if they can.

Department surveillance video also revealed that “oftentimes Dakoda Davis would arrive at the fire station several minutes before the fires were reported to the fire department.”

Investigators say a witness came forward on Jan. 19 to report a truck seen speeding away from one of the fires had also been parked at the Ochelata Fire Department.

The truck matched the description of what Davis drives.

On Jan. 31, dispatch logs show Davis called 911 from his cell phone to report a house fire in Ochelata on Main Street. Dispatchers say Davis did not identify himself as a firefighter. Surveillance from the fire department shows him pulling into the department parking lot minutes later, just before firefighters are paged.

Investigators say witnesses to the fire reported seeing a truck matching the description of Davis’ in the area just before seeing smoke and flames.

Investigators got a warrant to put a GPS tracker on Davis’ truck and did so on Feb. 3.

On Feb. 20, investigators say they tracked Davis’ truck in the vicinity of a vacant trailer fire south of Ochelata.

Investigators say when they questioned Davis this week he admitted to starting the fires on Jan. 31 and Feb. 20 as well as “seventeen other incendiary wildland fires to include multiple fires on the Hughes Ranch in Osage County.”

Investigators say Davis wrote an apology letter to the district attorney asking for forgiveness for setting the fires.

Currently, he’s been charged with two counts of Second-Degree Arson and two counts of Endangering or Causing Personal Injury to Human Life.

Investigators plan on adding more charges in the future.

He was arrested and booked into the Washington County Jail on $100,000 bond.