Three felony counts have been filed against a Trenton man following an investigation into what police described as an arson fire at 140 East 8th Street. The suspect was taken into custody at noon Saturday after the fire was reported around 3 a.m. that morning.
Online court information indicates that 35-year-old Brendon Ashley Ebersold has been charged with knowingly burning or exploding first-degree harassment, and first-degree property damage. No bond was set by the Grundy County Associate Court judge.
Upon arrival at the scene, Trenton firefighters encountered heavy smoke and flames emanating from a detached shed and the engine compartment of a 2002 Ford Mustang parked nearby. The blaze had spread from the shed to the vehicle and then to the adjacent privacy fence. Fire Lieutenant Derek Hert characterized the shed and motor vehicle as a total loss. Moderate damage was observed to the siding on the southwest side of the house and to the neighboring wooden fence that delineates the properties.
The owner of the house and shed was identified by firefighters as Misty Miller Smith. The vehicle’s owner was not known to the fire department.
Firefighters remained at the scene for approximately two and a half hours. Trenton Police Chief Rex Ross noted that assistance was provided by the state fire marshal’s office, Highway Patrol, Grundy County Sheriff’s Department, Trenton Fire Department, and Grundy County Ambulance. There were no reported injuries.
A probable cause affidavit was filed with the court by Fire Investigator Adam Crouch of the Missouri Division of Fire Safety. He assessed the damage to the outbuilding and vehicle to exceed $10,000.
During his investigation, Crouch determined the fire had been intentionally set in the shed. He discovered text messages sent between 2 and 3 a.m. on the victim’s cellphone, allegedly from Ebersold. Grundy County Prosecuting Attorney Kelly Puckett claims that the voicemails and text messages were threatening, causing the victim to suffer emotional distress.
Investigator Crouch cited the victim’s statement that Ebersold was at her apartment on Main Street around 2:52 a.m. on Saturday, placing the suspect in the vicinity of the fire shortly thereafter. In an interview, Crouch quoted the victim as expressing fear that Ebersold might return to inflict harm on her or to set her house ablaze.