1. #1
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    Angry What kind of signal does this send the public!

    Firefighters Plead Guilty to Arson
    Nov 23, 2005, 04:51 PM EST Firefighters Plead Guilty to Arson


    Their job was to protect you from fires -- but today, six former firefighters were in court accused of arson.

    Five former Lincoln County volunter firefighters pleaded guilty today, to arson-related charges. The five were sentenced to five years pre-trial diversion. That means that if they successfully complete the five years without another offense, the charges will be expunged.

    Prosectuor Daryl Day said the sentences were justified, because the burned buidlings were vacant, and no person were put in jeopardy.

    My too cents.I call BS

    Vacant or not they put their fellow firefighters at risk!
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

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    Angry B.s.!..................

    No Persons in jeopardy. I suppose that no body responded, and the Fires burnt out unattended? Or, does the prosecutor feel that Firefighters are not Persons?
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    Isn't that kind of odd? The message being sent to the guilty parties is that they can keep on doing it as long as they are real careful not to get caught again. NICE.

    What ever happened to hang em high?
    There goes the neighborhood.

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    [QUOTE=coldfront]

    Prosectuor Daryl Day said the sentences were justified, because the burned buidlings were vacant, and no person were put in jeopardy.

    QUOTE]

    No one was in jeopardy. I agree with the rest do firefighters not count. How about all the cars and intersections the fire trucks went through to get there. What BS. glad that prosecutor doesn’t live where I live.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    Five former Lincoln County volunter firefighters pleaded guilty today, to arson-related charges. The five were sentenced to five years pre-trial diversion. That means that if they successfully complete the five years without another offense, the charges will be expunged.
    ...and they'll be free to go someplace to do the same thing all over again.

    And the hits just keep on comin'.
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    A burning "Vacant" building is only vacant before we arrive. Then it's occupied.

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    To add to what steamer stated. I saw on the news a couple of weeks ago, in PA. convicted arsonists who served time are vol. firefighters, in at least in once case the chief of dept. The one person involved was a convicted arsonist who caused a $250,000 lumber yard fire, I can't remeber the 2nd case he was convicted of but it was stated he was suspected in over 20 other cases, now he is a chief. When other members of the dept. were interviewed, they simply stated he served his time and they do not feel he is a threat. How in the world can they say that, did he threaten to burn their houses down or something. From what the news stated the state of PA has no law preventing these persons from becoming vollies although they do have one preventing them from becoming career. I just can't understand how this can be, it makes so little sense. People need to stand up, especialy the vollies and say we want stricter laws to prevent this. Make a stand that we don't want to stand side by side with convicted arsonists. Now to my next rant. What in the world motivates a firefighter to become an arsonist, yeah I know looking for action, looking to be the guy who saved the day. But realy how do they actualy take that step, it seems insane to me. Yeah the justification is bad enough, we don't need glory hounds or nut jobs, but to actualy go thru with these ideas. If any thing firefighter arsonists should get stricter punishment, set the example.

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    Not surprised ... the court system still seems to percieve arson in many places as a simple property crime and not a volient crime. In VT about 10 years ago, w0e had a guy start a fire in a 24 unit apartment building and burn down half of it ... he recieved no jail time and only 5 years of probabtion. We had to makes 5-6 saves and almost lost 2 guys in a partial collapse ... too bad the legal syetem doesn't understand the risks that we (choose to) take once we arrive.

    Seems like this attitude is pretty widespread based on the articles i read now and then.

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    Default Really

    This is far from the first time.....

    Try contacting the NVFC and see what they have to say about it.

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    Thumbs down I call Foul!

    Lets not make this a volly / paid issue.This case happens to vollys many or not!

    I remember a couple federal firefighters arsons along with some city career guys also in the recent pass.The statement of the prosecutor is whats troubles me as much as the firefighters.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

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    Unhappy Sad Case!

    PHOENIX (AP) -- The former commander of an elite wildfire team that
    battled the largest blaze in Arizona history and aided in recovery
    efforts at the World Trade Center is accused of starting two fires
    last year, federal prosecutors said.

    Van Bateman, 55, was indicted Wednesday for allegedly setting the
    fires in the Coconino National Forest in 2004. He faces two federal
    counts of setting timber afire and two counts of arson on public
    lands. The first charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five
    years, while arson is punishable by up to 20 years, prosecutors said
    Thursday.

    Bateman was a Type I incident commander, the head of a wildfire
    management crew that is called in for the biggest and most severe
    wildfires. His four-year term in that position expired in 2004 and he
    became leader of a slightly lower level team until he was indicted
    and put on paid leave, according to Forest Service officials.

    Bateman is accused of setting a tenth-of-an-acre (0.04 hectare) fire
    on May 8, 2004, and a 21-acre 8.4-hectare) fire on June 23, 2004.


    A message left at his home was not immediately returned Thursday.

    Patrick Schneider, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office,
    declined to comment on the possible motive or other aspects of the
    case.

    Bateman, a 34-year veteran, commanded a Forest Service team sent to
    the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
    attacks.

    He has fought wildfires across the West, including leading one of
    four elite teams that managed crews that battled the largest wildfire
    Arizona has seen. That blaze covered 469,000 acres in 2002, destroyed
    491 homes and forced the evacuation of 30,000 people in eastern
    Arizona.

    Bateman is not the first firefighter to be accused of starting a
    wildfire in Arizona. In 2002, part-time firefighter Leonard Gregg was
    accused of starting part of a blaze that destroyed hundreds of homes
    in northeast Arizona. Gregg pleaded guilty in 2004 to two counts of
    intentionally setting a fire and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

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    Coldfront, If you were thinking I was trying to make this the regular career/vollie thread, I wasn't. My thought is all firefighters should be held to the same entrance procedures. That goes from a full medical- not the same ol' family doc signing a piece of paper, straight thru to a oral interview- not like some of the ones I've heard people say- "you like beer, you like women? ok your in". Not makin that up I know some guys who've been on the q and the a side of those interviews. I think it is important on both sides of the coin, lets face it there are many more vollies than career, more chances for a nutjob to be in the ranks. If we use stricter entrance protocols we may be able to weed some out. I know it is not 100% effective, but a nice start and a little better to defend the company when it goes to the papers and court if it should arise. I think it is a pretty common thought among rational people that we all do the same job, so why not have the same qualifications and prerequisites. I think beings the vollies have the bigger percentage of firefighters they should lead the charge and fight for stricter laws and entrance procedures. Lets not leave the door open for people to ask how it is that a convicted arsonist can be a firefighter. Would you want a convicted felon as a cop, of course not. Stricter rules need to be in place. Of course this is not every where, however it is the case in PA (per the report- with no denial by any firefighters and a confirmation by a state senator). Lets prevent a possible mess and nip it before it can start. These stories make eveyone look bad, not just the vollies. Most people have no clue who protects them, they just know they dial 911 and firefighters show up. A proactive stance is the best solution, not a defensive one after something like this happens. If it came off as a hit towards vollies it's not. But they hold the card of having more members, which means more chances for problems.

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    Default Well since Joshie called me out on it ...

    Even as a civilian chick, there are SO many comments in the previous posts that could/should be commented on:


    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    Five former Lincoln County volunter firefighters pleaded guilty today, to arson-related charges. The five were sentenced to five years pre-trial diversion. That means that if they successfully complete the five years without another offense, the charges will be expunged.
    SIX??????? Jesussssss murphy!

    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    Prosectuor Daryl Day said the sentences were justified, because the burned buidlings were vacant, and no person were put in jeopardy.
    And this??? WOW! That's just f'n pitiful!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer
    ...and they'll be free to go someplace to do the same thing all over again
    Sad, but true. Expunged! Maybe not even SOMEWHERE ELSE!! Will they be welcomed back to their old deparment with open arms by the Chief????

    Quote Originally Posted by E229Lt
    A burning "Vacant" building is only vacant before we arrive. Then it's occupied.
    Artie's comment is the one that made me decide to reply to this thread, even though I'm not a firefighter. Like WTF????!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrIrons
    This is far from the first time.....
    And unfortunately won't be the last.


    Quote Originally Posted by MrIrons
    Try contacting the NVFC and see what they have to say about it.
    So what can we (civilians like Cheffie and me as well as the rest of you) do to combat this attitude of the NVFC??? I'm willing to assist anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to help do whatever is necessary to make changes.
    Last edited by RspctFrmCalgary; 11-25-2005 at 11:37 PM. Reason: oooppppppsi I wasn't finished and hit submit by mistake!
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    Oops, wrong thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    Firefighters Plead Guilty to Arson
    Nov 23, 2005, 04:51 PM EST Firefighters Plead Guilty to Arson

    Their job was to protect you from fires -- but today, six former firefighters were in court accused of arson.

    Five former Lincoln County volunter firefighters pleaded guilty today, to arson-related charges. The five were sentenced to five years pre-trial diversion. That means that if they successfully complete the five years without another offense, the charges will be expunged.

    Prosectuor Daryl Day said the sentences were justified, because the burned buidlings were vacant, and no person were put in jeopardy.

    My too cents.I call BS
    Vacant or not they put their fellow firefighters at risk!
    Well, if it isn't "expunged" from their records, then how will they be able to serve on another fire department where they can set more fires?
    Simple. They apply.
    They live there. They walk, talk and breathe. They'll do!
    George has stated on numerous occasions that this exists in our fire service for two reason:
    1) No background checks or checks that don't go far enough.
    2) No psych or integrity testing(this is a great tool).
    3) When caught, the punishment DOESN'T fit the crime.
    Let's see; firefighters do their job. Cops do their job.
    Who drops the ball on a regular basis? The COURTS!
    And I'll tell you right now; if the charge of arson is elevated because a firefighter got hurt while fighting it; guess what? I will guarantee you someone is going to "claim" they got hurt fighting a fire. Some years ago, a teenager set a fire, we knew she set the fire(was ****ed at Mom), she admitted she set the fire and the cop was going to let her go. I grabbed the cop, said one of my guys got hurt and I would file the charge. She was taken in, counselled and today, she is a very different young lady. But if she'd been let go that first time, I KNOW something bad would have happened. Her parents to this day thank me for getting their daughter help.
    Anyway; judgey-wudgey screwed up.
    For this and more like it, go to a thread started by ED back on 8/23/02. That's right; we been talkin' about this for THREE YEARS and counting.
    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=40397
    CR
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefReason
    Well, if it isn't "expunged" from their records, then how will they be able to serve on another fire department where they can set more fires?
    Simple. They apply.
    They live there. They walk, talk and breathe. They'll do!
    George has stated on numerous occasions that this exists in our fire service for two reason:
    1) No background checks or checks that don't go far enough.
    2) No psych or integrity testing(this is a great tool).
    3) When caught, the punishment DOESN'T fit the crime.
    Let's see; firefighters do their job. Cops do their job.
    Who drops the ball on a regular basis? The COURTS!
    And I'll tell you right now; if the charge of arson is elevated because a firefighter got hurt while fighting it; guess what? I will guarantee you someone is going to "claim" they got hurt fighting a fire. Some years ago, a teenager set a fire, we knew she set the fire(was ****ed at Mom), she admitted she set the fire and the cop was going to let her go. I grabbed the cop, said one of my guys got hurt and I would file the charge. She was taken in, counselled and today, she is a very different young lady. But if she'd been let go that first time, I KNOW something bad would have happened. Her parents to this day thank me for getting their daughter help.
    Anyway; judgey-wudgey screwed up.
    For this and more like it, go to a thread started by ED back on 8/23/02. That's right; we been talkin' about this for THREE YEARS and counting.
    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=40397
    CR
    I cannot agree that this is a court problem. This is as much of a prosecution problem as it is a court problem.

    The plea bargain (please do not scream about plea bargains. A plea bargain is extended on every, single case-from shoplifting to murder. If it weren't for plea bargains, the court system would grind to a halt with trials. And no, they are not going to make more judges to make up for it) is extended by the prosecution. If the defense accepts the plea bargain, the judge has the option of rejecting it. They rarely do. Nine times out of ten, this deal is cut in a back room way before the court hearing.

    If the prosecution has a lackadaisical attitude about arson, it will be reflected in the plea bargain extended in an arson case.

    In my county, there were many times that I shook my head and wondered why I even bothered when I read the plea bargain. I developed the attitude that it was my job to get the guilty adjudication. Every thing after that was out of my control.

    But I was most fortunate in working for an agency that had a 100% zero tolerance for fire fighter arson. No pretrial diversion. None. No pleas to a lesser offense. None. It may get downgraded from a second to a third degree, but your record will show an Arson conviction. In NJ, you cannot get an Arson conviction expunged.

    If you have a prosecution team with no gonads, you will have pleas like this.

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    I wonder what would have happened if a Firefighter was injured or killed while fighting these "vacant" building fires?

    Would the attitude and charges have changed?


    Would "persons" have been put at risk?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrIrons
    This is far from the first time.....

    Try contacting the NVFC and see what they have to say about it.
    Here's an exact quote of their response..." ".
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Here's an exact quote of their response..." ".
    I don't think they said that much.

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    Fire fighters are charged with protecting life and property. They are fully aware of the potential concequences relating to insurance companies, property owners, residence, and first responders. Fire fighters should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and treated harshly for committing arson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nail200
    Fire fighters are charged with protecting life and property. They are fully aware of the potential concequences relating to insurance companies, property owners, residence, and first responders. Fire fighters should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and treated harshly for committing arson.
    In true "eat our own young fashion" I believe the penalties should be more severe for Firefighters. For all the reasons Naill indicates above. We know what its alll about and we face the dangers, putting other Firefighters at risk for kicks or whatever deserves a big freakin blanket party.
    Last edited by hfd66truck; 11-29-2005 at 08:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    Lets not make this a volly / paid issue.This case happens to vollys many or not!

    I remember a couple federal firefighters arsons along with some city career guys also in the recent pass.The statement of the prosecutor is whats troubles me as much as the firefighters.
    I don't want to believe that this would ever be a Career vs. Volunteer Issue but think about something what types of organizations are we constantly reading about either here on FH.com or other publications regarding firefighter arson ?

  23. #23
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    Unhappy wow tough crowd

    If the five years is of JAIL than that is a long time for property crime.
    If the five years isn't supervised than they got off way easy.

    Forgive me if I am wrong but don't most states make it mandatory for persons with a criminal record to report that to prospective employers.

    Imagine never getting a good job again for the rest of your life.
    That is a guarantee that people will choose to continue acting outside the law, and harming society.

    Ya they created a situation where FF's might be at risk.

    Don't know about you but vacant buildings on fire aren't much more than practice or a nuisance call.

    I do do a criminal record check for all new recruits. Don't forget that there are WAY more Volly's the full time FF's. There will be more incedents of every kind with the Volly's.

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    Berwyn, Are you suggesting that a vacant building fire does not pose a threat to firefighters. Are there vagrants inside? Is it a 3 story mill, possible exposures? I am not sure of what you mean, however if you are suggesting that a vacant building is not or should not be a danger to firefighters, you are wrong. Although there are some things that we may be able to do different, it does not matter we still have a job to be done, a job that comes with many inherent dangers. Yes we may be able to eliminate some of them with a vacant building, however there are some that we can not. Could you live with having a fire that may be very controlable upon arrival, but make the decision to go totaly defensive and a vagrant inside (possibly more than 1, possibly children) dies. Now that I write that it makes me wonder maybe it is just neighbor hood kids that started a small fire and are now not able to make it out, could you live with the decision to write them off when you have a possible controlable fire but instead decide it is a vacant building lets just go defensive. If I am taking what you stated wrong please tell me and this is just another of my pointless rants, however if you did mean it as taken give me some justification of your view.

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    I locked up a FF who had set three fires. Caught him after there was an accelerated fire on the exterior of a house that had been "vacant" (for sale) for some time, but had been recently sold and re-occuppied.

    He kind of gave himself away when we had the company come back to the house and we were interviewing the victims. His knees buckled when he walked up. Took about three minutes to get a confession.

    It was particularly offensive in that he used gasoline and flares from the fire house. All three fires were within walking distance to the fire house. Had a K9 track from the scene to the fire house, however, the dog couldn't pronounce the actor's name.

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