Feds Deny Responsibility For Guardsmen In Fort Chaffee Fire

Nov 13, 2015

The federal government is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority over a 2011 fire that destroyed 111 buildings at a World War II-era hospital complex in western Arkansas.

The lawsuit seeking more than $650,000 in damages was filed in September. It says members of the Kentucky National Guard's 138th Fires Brigade caused the blaze and that the federal government is responsible for their actions. The government's response filed Friday denies responsibility and said an employee whose "conduct was controlled by a third-party" committed the alleged negligence.

Officials said the fire was started by cigarettes tossed into dry weeds by guard members who sneaked onto the complex looking for ghosts. The Army denied an administrative claim for damages filed by the authority last year.