1. #1
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    Jun 2001
    Summerville, SC

    Default Volunteer FF gets 12 years for setting fires

    Volunteer FF gets 12 years for setting fires
    by Kenneth A. Gailliard of the Sun News
    MYRTLE BEACH- A former Surfside Beach volunteer firefighter was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to setting a series of fires, including one in which a fellow firefighter died.

    Hans Hansen was charged with four counts of second-degree burglary, three counts of second-degree arson and one count of first-degree arson for the fire in which former Surfside Beach Assistant Fire Chief Tom Andersen died.

    Hansen, 21, was sentenced to two Youthful Offender Act sentences of up to six years each. He also was sentenced to five years' probation, and suspended sentences of 30 years and 20 years, to run concurrently.

    Hansen's sentence came after several volunteer firefighters from Surfside Beach and his parents pleaded for mercy for him.

    "There are consequences for this action," Circuit Judge Paula Thomas said before reading the sentence.

    In emotional plea, Hansen's mother said she knew since he was a child that he had a problem with setting fires, but the family was unable to get help for him. "When he began to have problems, we went to every resource we could, and the doors were shut in our face," she said. "They told us he hadn't done anything yet."

    Between November 2001 and January 2002, Hansen set four fires, Solicitor Greg Hembree said. Hansen also responded to three of them.

    On Jan. 21, 2002, Andersen had a heart attack while fighting a fire on Ocean Boulevard.

    Hembree said Hansen was at that scene, as well, and helped pull the fallen Andersen from the building.

    Afterward, Hansen "took handshakes and congratulations like he was a hero," Hembree said.

    Hansen admitted his role in the blazes after he failed a lie detector test and police approached his parents, also volunteer firefighters, about the test results, Hembree said.

    Andersen's sisters had asked for the maximum sentence for Hansen and criticized him for accepting their praise for helping their brother.

    Stuart Axelrod, Hansen's lawyer, said the sentence was fair.

    Surfside Beach revamped its police and fire agencies after Andersen's death, creating a public safety department.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"

  2. #2
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    Apr 2003
    Charlotte, NC


    Yet another of our brothers gone aray. Wish this wasn't as common place.

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