Home place of indicted Circuit Judge burns to the ground

Rachel Baldwin Staff Writer

September 6, 2013

MEATHOUSE ROAD, Ky. – All that was left standing of a home located on Meathouse Road in the community of Canada, Ky., that had been built by the grandfather of Michael Thornsbury was a brick fireplace and chimney surrounded by the still smoldering melted tin roof, burned grass and scorched trees.

Thornsbury, the owner of his childhood home, is the suspended without pay Circuit Judge of Mingo County who was indicted last month in federal court on charges of engaging in criminal conspiracies to violate the criminal rights of the husband of his former secretary and mistress.

This suspicious fire is actually the second one that has occurred on this piece of property in just a little over a year, with the first occurring on June 26, 2012. The 2012 fire involved a small, older family home located adjacent to the one that burned shortly before the sun rose in to the sky Thursday morning, and was described as being used as a storage building that was said to have contained a large amount of combustible materials including books and boxes of paperwork and files. No information has been released so far as to what may have been inside the larger wooden structure.

Members of the Big Creek Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call, under the direction of Fire Chief Rick Green. The Williamson Daily News has attempted to contact the fire chief for a comment about the suspicious fire but according to the firefighter that took our call, they have been instructed to not provide a statement about the blaze except to say it was suspicious in nature and was under investigation by the arson investigator with Pikeville Post 9 of the Kentucky State Police as well as federal officers.

A family member of Thornsbury stated that the loss of their family home was like losing their grandparents all over again, and said that it has hurt the entire family who has such fond memories that were made within the walls of the burned rubble. Neighbors who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution told the Daily News that as far as they knew, there was no electricity connected to either structure that has caught fire. One passerby, who identified himself as Joshua Leedy, stated that he personally believes that if there was insurance on the home that it may have been burned to collect those funds, and says he has also thought that it may have been ignited by someone who disliked the judge or wanted to cause him or his family some grief.

“It’s hard to say what happened, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that two homes without electrical service hooked up to them, both owned by the same person and located on the same piece of property, don’t burn to the ground in right at a year apart without someone’s help,” said Leedy. “I’ve lived in this area for most of my life and that stuff just doesn’t happen around here. Whoever is responsible, I hope they are arrested and punished for this.”

No official statements concerning the origin of the fire have to date, been released by investigators, but will be reported to the public by the Daily News as soon as it is made available.