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Man charged in Brentwood house fire that killed his father

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Aug 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 23:37:22-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Police have charged a 26-year-old man in connection with Sunday’s house fire in Brentwood that killed his father.

The Nashville Fire Department said crews were sent to a duplex on Valley View Road near Old Hickory Boulevard just after 1 p.m.

Medic crews arrived first and attempted to rescue the man inside the home, but due to the fire and heat, they were unsuccessful. Firefighters then arrived and were able to get him out of the house. The man, identified by the Nashville Fire Department as Jim Hassey, was then taken to the hospital in critical condition but later died.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to one side of the duplex, however, that side has been deemed a total loss. Fire officials said all occupants of the second side were able to safely escape and the unit sustained minimal damage.

Enoch Hartman saw smoke, so he walked to the scene to check on his neighbors.

"There was a guy standing there in shorts, he didn’t have a shirt, and flip flops, and he had a cup, like he was drinking out of a cup, and they said 'Is there anybody else in there hurt?' And he said, 'yes,'" Hartman said. "It was strange."

For some witnesses, it was odd that Hassey had been watching the fire from the yard. "Two people who drove up and back said the man was bleeding a little bit," Hartman said. "When they approached him to see if he was OK, he was saying things like 'You can help him if you want,' and 'I'm sure he will be alright.'"

At the scene, witnesses saw John Hassey try to leave and told police. He was arrested down the street. Motive is unclear as it remains under investigation. "It’s sad," Hartman said.

John Hassey
John Hassey was arrested for arson charges in connection to his father's death in Brentwood, Tennessee.

According to an affidavit, John Hassey is facing charges of felony arson and aggravated arson. Additional charges are possible. Fire investigators said the fire was intentionally set in Hassey's room and was "incendiary" in nature. Hassey was held on a $300,000 bond.