Local man charged with arson, child abuse

DSC_0051 webA Barbourville man was arrested shortly after midnight Friday, accused of arson and multiple counts of child abuse.

According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Claude Hudson, responded to a domestic disturbance call on Wynn Hollow Road. When the deputy arrived, he reportedly saw Karl Abrams, age 32, standing on the road near the bottom of his driveway with blood on his hands and legs screaming, “What have I done?” over and over again as he watched his house burn.

There was reportedly no one in the house when it caught fire. The rest of the home’s residents, Amanda Hughes and four children, were all down the street at a neighbor’s house when the fire broke out.

After talking with the children, Deputy Hudson determined the fire was the result of damage made to the stove when Abrams broke the stove door in a rage. When the children warned him the stove could catch fire, he reportedly replied, “Let it burn.”

Amanda Hughes, Abrams’ girlfriend of six years, does not believe he abused the children, nor set fire to the house.

“Karl is a good man,” Hughes said. “He would never abuse these children. And as far as the house catching fire goes, the wood and coal burner pipes caught fire about two weeks ago. That’s probably where the fire broke out again this time.”

Woodbine Fire Department Chief Rick Fore said the house was fully engulfed when they arrived. It took over five hours, two tankers, three pumpers and over a dozen firemen to put out the fire.

Karl Abrams was lodged at the Knox County Detention Center and charged with 1st degree arson, 1st and 2nd degree alcohol intoxication, and three counts of 4th degree child abuse. Abrams is due in court at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.