House near Newberry corn maze burned to the ground

Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 11:18 AM EDT
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NEWBERRY, Fla. (WCJB) - The Alachua County Sheriff’s office is investigating a fire that broke out in a house Friday night on the same property as the Newberry corn maze.

However, the owners of the corn maze believe they know who set the fire.

Property manager Lacy Dowdle said former employee Matthew Deavitt set the fire after being fired from his job after he was caught drinking alcohol while on the clock.

Deavitt was seen leaving the property Friday night after the fire broke out. When he was being escorted out, witnesses said he hit the security guard on the head with a gallon-jug. Deputies then arrested Deavitt, charging him with aggravated assault on a person 65-years or older.

“First concern was safety," Dowdle said. "I mean everybody was concerned to make sure that nobody was in the surrounding area. Then to get everybody out of the area. We were almost at closing time.”

Alachua County Fire Rescue received a call about the fire around 11 pm at 20015 W Newberry Rd. When crews arrived, a vacant home was ablaze. They quickly put the fire out, but the building burned down completely.

The maze suffered no damage and was reopened on Saturday night.

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