1. #1
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    Default Firefighters & Arson....once again folks

    I'm getting a little tired of seeing this in the news..how about you?

    Three firefighters, one other person charged with arson

    (Philadelphia-AP) -- Three volunteer firefighters and a fourth
    person are charged with setting three fires in Northampton County
    that caused nearly $200,000 in damage.
    The firefighters worked for Tatamy Volunteer Fire Department
    near Easton. State police said today that one of them set the fires
    in June and July and the other three suspects served as drivers,
    lookouts or other accomplices.
    All four suspects were charged with arson, risking a catastrophe
    and related offenses. They were released today on unsecured bail.
    Police say 18-year-old firefighter Thomas Luther Howey Junior of
    Easton set the fires using a liquid accelerant and a lighter.
    Police say the alleged accomplices are two other 18-year-old male
    firefighters and Howey's 19-year-old female cousin.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press

    By the way...what exactly is "risking a catastrophe?"...George?
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    By the way...what exactly is "risking a catastrophe?"...George?
    It may be similar to a crime we have in NJ called Causing or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage.

    If you set a fire (or do some other things) that puts 10 or more dwellings,a building normally containing more than 50 people, or 50 people in danger of damage, death or serious bodily injury, it is a crime. It's a lesser degree if it is a risk, instead of the damage actually occurring.

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    Default Long Post Warning

    NJ Thank you once again for the story.

    George Thank you for enlightening us as to what "risking a catastrophe" may possibily be.

    I don't understand why this keeps happening. I was talking to someone about it the other day, asking about psych testing and the like. I can understand how smaller vollie depts can't afford to do it, but aren't these tests fairly standardized? Is there not some way that the bigger depts could pass the equivalent information and/or tests down to the smaller ones?

    I understand that it is getting harder to retain recruits. That is VERY unfortunate, and I haven't the slightest clue how to fix that, but would you rather have guys you can depend on, or people just to fill the seats?

    Why not make an example of them? Whether FT/PT paid or vollie, it really doesn't make a difference. The fact of the matter is they are risking the lives of other people, not just other firefighters, and they should KNOW the destructive capability that a fire has. If they don't then training has failed somewhere.

    I don't see the 'Brotherhood' in these individuals. They have little or no concept of what that means. Personally I would give my last red cent to see them have to stand trial before a jury of their "peers", not everyday Jo citizen, but their actual "peers" firefighters, and arson investigators. Throw into the mix police, EMT's, or any other medical personnel that have to work burn victims. People who will grasp the scope of the destructive capability of the fire that these guys seem to think is so much fun to play with. It isn't that I don't think the general public wouldn't convict, but most people like to be kept in the dark. They don't really want to know what happens at a fire, what happens to victims etc., they want a nice news story that says everyone got saved, but don't really want to look at the ramifications of 'what could have happened'. Prosecute definitely, but use people on the jury who have a concept of what fire can do, so an appropriate sentence can be handed down. There is little point in slapping them on the wrist and saying 'Oh you wont do that again now will you?' Make an example and maybe it will stop!

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    I can understand how smaller vollie depts can't afford to do it, but aren't these tests fairly standardized?
    How can they afford NOT to do them?

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    Default Related News-FF pleads innocent

    Story slugged MT, details somewhat slim

    Firefighter says he didn't set blaze

    (Columbus-AP) -- A volunteer firefighter pleaded innocent to
    setting a fire that damaged a quarter block of Columbus.
    Cole Joseph Wilson -- 18 years old -- faces a felony arson
    charge and 20 years in prison. He told the court he did not commit
    the crime.
    But police say Wilson already admitted starting the fire that
    burned down two stores and two apartments. And they plan on using
    that confession as evidence.
    Prosecutors say Wilson also admitted starting a few other fires
    in Columbus over a one-week period.
    Bail was set at 50-thousand-dollars by Stillwater County
    District Court Judge Blair Jones.

    (From: Judy Slade, ktvq)

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    Arrow

    And in other news........
    ________________________________________________

    GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) - A former volunteer firefighter and an
    applicant for a similar position have been charged with arson in
    connection with seven suspicious fires here during the past eight
    months, authorities said.
    Former volunteer firefighter Antwain Sales, 23, has been charged
    with five counts of second-degree arson and two counts of willfully
    burning lands of another, according to arrest warrants.
    Michael Carson, 18, has been charged with two counts of
    second-degree arson, and Donnie Hurley, 19, with second-degree
    arson and two counts of willfully burning lands of another. All of
    the men were from Greenwood.
    Carson was being considered for a firefighting position at the
    time of his arrest, county fire officials said.
    Two juveniles, ages 15 and 16, who were enrolled in the fire
    department's scout program also have been charged, authorities
    said.
    Lt. Dan Wideman of the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office said
    once investigators determined an Aug. 20 fire was arson they began
    looking at other suspicious fires.
    "Altogether there were seven suspicious fires, four at
    residential structures, two wood fires and one at a business,"
    Wideman said.
    All of the homes were abandoned.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press.
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    Angry Arsonist's in Action

    What is the ratio of "Vollie" firefighter arsonist's to career "give me the money" firefighters? You have a major problem on your hands--if it takes a "witch hunt"I.E.- psycho tests, lie detector's--or even a witch doctor with a bone thru his nose, to get to these danger to society behind bars--go for it. The sheer cost to the taxpayers will be considerably cut if you can weed these lowlife out early on.
    "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
    Harry Lauder 1981.Me on the left!

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    How can they afford NOT to do them?
    I agree George, they can't. From a monitary point of view there will always be someone who will argue that the funds aren't there. Which is why I posed the question about bigger depts filtering down the same information.

    I don't know how it works in the states, but here, I was required to have a record check done prior to my employment, I was also required to have one done for one of the volunteer agencies that I work with. In both instances I had to pay for them myself. The volunteer agency would not allow me to submit the check that I used as a condition for my employment.

    So why not say we are volunteer dept, but we REQUIRE you have to have a record check done and cleared BEFORE you can attend any training or calls. Why not approach one of the bigger career depts, who has all the psych testing etc, and say you know what we don't have the funds to send these guys to have these tests done, can you help us out? Why not approach the hospitals and ask them if they would be willing to 'donate' the psych testing? Why not go to the universities and colleges and inquire about psych testing? Hell we have tests that can indicate whether or not someone is trying to 'fake' a psychiatric illness, and you only have to be shown once how to read it to get it. Surely to God the tests that would be required couldn't be that much more difficult. I am nearly positive that if a recruiting officer walked into a psych ward somewhere, asked to see the on call Dr, and explained the situation, that the doc would give him lots of stuff to take back with him. Even if it was just questions that could be asked in the oral interview, that would be better then nothing.

    "Ell-Eff-Bee"

    I was wondering the same thing, but then you have to take into account the paid-on-call arsonists that do it to jack up their pay check.

    Are there actual statistics on the percentage of arson fires that are started by firefighters?

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    Unhappy Raymond, Mississippi FF

    RAYMOND, Miss. (AP) - A former Raymond volunteer firefighter has
    been sentenced to 28 years in prison for starting a fire that
    destroyed a church sanctuary.
    Gary LaShawn McGee, 27, of Jackson, was convicted of
    first-degree arson Friday in Hinds County Circuit Court. Circuit
    Judge Bobby DeLaughter also ordered McGee to pay $774,000 in
    restitution.
    The July 24, 2001, fire destroyed the 150-member Hinds
    Independent Methodist Church near Raymond.
    Prosecutors said evidence showed McGee purchased charcoal fluid
    and a gas match lighter hours before the church went up in flames.
    The purchases showed up in a store surveillance video showed. A
    receipt for the same two items was found at the scene of the blaze.
    McGee could have been sentenced to a maximum 30 years in prison.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    APTV 08-31-02 1109EDT
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    Arrow

    (El Cajon-AP) -- A firefighter has pleaded innocent to charges
    that he intentionally set five fires that destroyed two homes in
    the Julian area earlier this week.
    Jonathan Patrick Klausen's attorney entered the pleas to five
    arson charges in an El Cajon courtroom yesterday.
    If convicted, he faces up to 21 years and four months in prison.
    He may face additional prison time if damage by the fires is more
    than one (m) million dollars.
    Authorities believe the fires were set early Tuesday. They also
    destroyed five outbuildings and charred 280 acres of woodland.
    Klausen, a firefighter with the California Conservation Corps
    since June, was one of about 70 firefighters who live at the La
    Cima Fire Camp during the fire season.
    He is being held in lieu of 250-thousand dollars bail.
    A preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 26th.
    (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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    Arrow Another FF charged

    Volunteer firefighter charged with arson (Oregon)

    (Corbett-AP) -- A volunteer firefighter has been charged with
    arson in the small community of Corbett, where a year-long string
    of mysterious fires has frustrated the small firefighting force.
    Twenty-five-year-old Peter David Traxler was arrested on charges
    of arson, reckless burning and burglary and booked into the
    Multnomah County Jail.
    He was a lieutenant in the volunteer fire department, and had
    worked there since he was 18.
    Corbett firefighters have battled a series of mysterious fires
    that began last October. Fire investigators have long suspected
    arson.
    Traxler worked out of the Springdale station and is a
    third-generation firefighter. Police believe he set at least one
    fire that engulfed a construction office.
    Traxler's motives are not clear. State police say they are
    continuing to investigate.
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    Arrow

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A 25-year-old volunteer firefighter has
    turned himself in to police and faces six charges of arson and
    reckless burning in fires east of Portland.
    Peter David Traxler went to Oregon State Police on Friday.
    State police have been investigating 21 arson fires since
    October 2001, said OSP spokesman Lt. Dale Rutledge. Police say
    Traxler is connected to at least six of them and may have been on
    the fire lines fighting the blazes with other volunteer
    firefighters from the Corbett Rural Fire District.
    "Being a volunteer fireman, I would expect he was active in
    suppressing (the fires)," Rutledge said.
    One of the fires Traxler is charged with setting destroyed an
    outbuilding on Aug. 11.
    No one was hurt in the fires. Witness statements helped state
    police develop Traxler as a top suspect, Rutledge said.
    "There's some additional fires (investigators) are looking
    at," he said. "We've only made charges on six."
    If convicted, Traxler faces up to 20 years in prison on each
    charge.

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    It's almost like watching the Discovery Channel...when chimps cannibalize each other. These rogue chimps are no more firefighters than terrorists are. They are in it for a thrill....self-seeking monsters that should be tried as traitors. Plain and simple....felons and traitors...that's what they are.
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    Unhappy Canada -Arsonist charged is former FF

    PERTH, Ont. (CP) - A former firefighter has been charged with
    setting three fires, the most recent being this past Monday near
    the eastern Ontario community of Almonte.
    Gilmour Drummond, 59, made a brief appearance in court Tuesday
    to face eight charges relating to the three fires.
    Sgt. Kristine Cholette, a provincial police spokeswoman, said
    officers were monitoring a man's activities and followed him to a
    field just outside Almonte, a town about 50 kilometres west of
    Ottawa.
    Plainclothes officers say they saw a man light the field on
    fire. There were no buildings in the area. The man left and two
    officers tried to put out the fire. They were later helped by
    firefighters.
    The fire was set off County Road 29, the same route where police
    believe a dozen barns and two smaller abandoned structures have
    been destroyed by arson this year.
    Drummond is charged with mischief, arson and possession of an
    incendiary device in Monday's fire and in a June 20 restaurant
    fire.
    He's also charged with attempting arson and possession of an
    incendiary device in an Aug. 26 hay fire.
    Drummond will remain in custody until Friday, when he will
    return to court for a show-cause hearing.
    "We're going to stand behind him," Drummond's son Davey said
    outside the courthouse on Tuesday.
    "This is a bad time for our family and a bad time for our
    dad."
    The son spoke compassionately of his father's poor health
    following a 1997 accident that forced him to quit the fire
    department. Drummond injured his right elbow while trying to save a
    young couple trapped in an Almonte apartment fire.
    "He's had a tough time dealing with everything in life," he
    said, adding that his father can't cope with the loss of his
    30-year career.
    "He's given his heart and soul to the fire department."
    arrest. (Ottawa Sun)

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    Unhappy After 30 years...then this?

    OTTAWA -- Arson investigators in Lanark County, west of Ottawa,
    are re-examining a rash of suspicious fires this summer.
    Fifty-nine-year-old Gilmour Drummond, a former volunteer
    firefighter, is facing eight charges relating to three suspicious
    fires set between June 20th and last Monday.
    Drummond, who remains in custody, will be back in court
    tomorrow.
    Police are reviewing 12 other suspicious fires over the past
    three months to determine if more charges are warranted.
    Investigators are also waiting for results from the Centre for
    Forensic Science in Toronto and still have more evidence that needs
    to be examined.
    Drummond had been a volunteer firefighter in the community for
    nearly 30 years.
    He was forced to quit after falling off a ladder during a blaze
    that killed a young couple in December 1997. (Ottawa Sun) KRM (from
    Broadcast News Ltd.)
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    Arrow Another incident

    Volunteer firefighter accused of deliberately setting five blazes


    (Wilmington-AP) -- According to state fire officials, a
    21-year-old volunteer firefighter has been getting a little too
    impatient for action on the job.
    Brian Hill is accused of deliberately setting five fires in
    woods or fields around Farmington dating back to March 19th. All of
    the blazes required response by the Farmington Fire Company, where
    Hill volunteers.
    Officials say among the fires Hill set was a wildfire on August
    21st that burned more than 130 acres and took more than 300
    volunteer firefighters to extinguish.
    Hill, who's from Greenwood, was charged today with one count of
    felony reckless burning and four counts of misdemeanor reckless
    burning.
    He was released on bail after being arraigned at a Justice of
    the Peace court in Harrington.


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    Unhappy

    PERTH -- A former volunteer firefighter charged with setting
    fires in eastern Ontario has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric
    assessment.
    Fifty-nine-year-old Gilmour Drummond made a brief court
    appearance today in Perth before being ordered to undergo the
    assessment at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.
    He has been charged in connection with three suspicious fires in
    Lanark County this summer.
    Drummond's lawyer, Jack Kirkland, hopes his client would have a
    minimum 30-day assessment.
    But a bed shortage at the hospital will only allow for five
    days, with the possibility of more if any beds become free in the
    interim.
    Drummond was arrested on September 16th and faces charges
    relating to a fire set that day.
    He also faces charges in connection with a June 20th restaurant
    fire and a hay fire set on August 26th. (Ottawa Citizen) NMC (from
    Broadcast News Ltd.)
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    Drummond's lawyer, Jack Kirkland, hopes his client would have a minimum 30-day assessment.
    But a bed shortage at the hospital will only allow for five
    days, with the possibility of more if any beds become free in the
    interim.
    This is not necessarily the case, if the Psychiatrist determines within that 5 days that commital is necessary, he will be institutionalized. You don't need 30 days to do a psych assessment. The only time I have ever heard of that amount of time being given for an 'assessment' is if there is a concern that the behavior is caused by adverse affects of a medication, or substance abuse. In which case the meds/intoxicant in question would be discontinued, sometimes it takes a lengthy period of time for the residual medication to leave the pts system.

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    Angry Bad Ordeal with Arson!

    This reminds me of the Faranheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, with firefighters causing arson! Ugh.
    Firefighters are beneficial to every community with the wealth of information they have!

    They don't get enough praise, for the information and skills they know! It could save your life one day!!!!!

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    We address this topic A LOT in the Forums...my question is when will we see it on the cover of Firehouse Magazine...or addressed in a commentary here at Firehouse.com? If it has, I'm sorry I somehow missed it. For once, I'm not being a wise*****...it needs to be brought to the forefront of our major publications. This not only ruins our reputation....more importantly...it ruins lives. There are a multitude of examples just in this one thread. Please Webteam...we would like to hear the opinions of the experts that we read here each day. I'd much rather see the problem addressed by our media ahead of Dateline or Geraldo Rivera.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    Luckily firefighter caused arson has not been a large "identified" problem here in Ontario.

    I do remember reading about this particular case as the fires were going on and the local firefighters being very upset when a Police Officer suggested that they may be looking for a firefighter as the arsonist.

    We all hate to think that someone such as ourselves, someone who has committed to prevent fires and save lives as we have could do something like this.

    Indepth psychological assessments may be the answer, but is it reasonable to expect smaller poor Departments to carry these out? I agree Stayback, that this issue needs to come out of the closet. We all need to look at the problem as something that is tangible and needs to be addressed. If we can't screen them, maybe we can educate the departments on when to be suspicious and how to address these suspicions?
    Let's call on some of the brilliant and crusty minds that prowl these forums. What are your ideas?

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    I would love to see it as a Harry Carter commentary..or on the cover of Firehouse magazine. It seems to me that it is both, that important and yes....that big of a problem. Now there's a possible LODD in PA that has some pretty ugly suspicions raised. I will be curious to see the outcome of the investigation.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    Actually, looking through the Sept issue of Firehouse, lo and behold there is an article on Arson. Firefighter arson is addressed, but only in a couple of paragraphs with 4 specific examples cited.

    I agree Stayback, this deserves a cover story dedicated strictly to Firefighter Arson.

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    Angry Another....FF

    Volunteer firefighter admits setting apartment building fire

    (Camden-AP) -- A volunteer firefighter is facing a five-year
    prison term for setting a blaze that severely damaged a Berlin
    apartment building.
    Ronnie Dawson pleaded guilty yesterday to arson charges as part
    of plea bargain with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. He
    admitted setting the fire in his bedroom on April first and then
    leaving the building.
    No injuries were reported in the blaze, which caused about
    60-thousand dollars worth of damage. Authorities haven't said why
    Dawson set the blaze.
    He's due to be sentenced November eighth.

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    Webteam -- Your thoughts???
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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