Ross pleads guilty to arson for apt. blaze

A man charged with setting a downtown Winchester apartment building on fire to prevent thefts agreed to serve 10 years for arson.

Billy Joe Ross, 60, pleaded guilty Thursday in Clark Circuit Court to second-degree arson as part of a plea agreement.

Ross told Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue he set the fire in his apartment at 40 N. Main St. on June 1, 2017.

Ross was living on the second floor and told Winchester Police he set the fire so people would stop stealing from him. Ross was standing outside the building when firefighters arrived.

The fire, though, was spreading from the second floor to the third, where several people were trapped. Winchester Fire-EMS firefighters rescued three people using the department’s ladder truck. All three were treated for smoke inhalation.

Ross was arrested at the scene for first-degree arson. The charge was reduced as part of the plea agreement.

Ross is scheduled to be sentenced March 1. He remains in the Clark County Detention Center.