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Nashville Fire Investigators Arrest Man for Setting House Fire That Killed Family Dog

3/19/2021
Joseph Pleasant; Public Information Officer

Family’s dog killed in intentionally set house fire

Nashville Fire Department Fire Investigators arrested Matthew Hawk, 41, for Aggravated Arson and Aggravated Animal Cruelty for setting a fire at 509 Cody Hill Court, Nashville, TN 37211 on Monday, March 8, 2021.

Metro DEC Dispatchers sent Nashville Fire Department personnel to the Cody Hill Court home around 4:45 pm on Monday, March 8th for a reported house fire, following multiple calls to 911 from people who saw the home burning.

Responding NFD firefighters could see smoke from the fire scene from 2 to 3 miles away.

NFD personnel arrived on scene and immediately began attacking the fire. The heaviest fire was coming from the first floor living room.  Hawk was outside the home when crews arrived. He informed them that a dog was still inside, prior to being transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Personnel later found the dog deceased.

NFD Fire Investigators arrived on scene and began their investigation. Investigators determined the fire was incendiary and the result of Arson. The female homeowner on scene told investigators she was separated from Hawk. Through interviews investigators developed Hawk as the suspected arsonist.

After NFD firefighters extinguished the fire, investigators examined the home. They worked meticulously to clear debris from the badly damaged home to examine the floor. Investigators found burn patterns and holes in the floor of the room where they believe Hawk started the fire.

NFD’s Accelerant Detection K-9 “Spencer” searched the scene and alerted to several areas in the home where he detected an accelerant. Samples of those areas are currently at the TBI Crime Lab for testing. Results from those samples are pending.

As a result of the investigation and because of injuries Hawk sustained because of the fire he set, NFD Fire Investigators charged him with Aggravated Arson, a Class A Felony.

Fire Investigators also charged Hawk with Aggravated Animal Cruelty, a Class E Felony, for the death of the dog in the fire.

Hawk is being held on $152,000 bond and is expected to appear in front of Judge Melissa Blackburn on Monday, March 22, 2021 at 9:55 am.

The crime of arson is one of the costliest human-made disasters. Arson indirectly contributes to increased insurance premiums, higher medical costs, lost jobs, lost income, and the increased costs of fire services.

If you have information about an arson call the Tennessee Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. The hotline is answered 24 hours a day. You can remain anonymous when providing information.

Cash awards up to $5,000 are paid for information leading to the arrest and the conviction of an arsonist.

Matthew Hawk Mug Shot