APOPKA, Fla. --
An Apopka firefighter resigned after eyewitnesses say he deliberately set a co-worker on fire. Jason Leblanc sprayed another firefighter with lighter fluid at a holiday party and then set him on fire, officials told WFTV Monday. However Leblanc was not arrested.
The victim suffered second-degree burns. Investigators said the victim is 25-year-old Jack Shumate, a one-year Apopka firefighter.
"You know it's sad that something like this has to take place, a very poor decision made that evening," said Steve Popp of the Apopka Police Department.
Investigators say both Shumate and Leblanc were at a Christmas party on South Binion Road with friends and other Apopka firefighters on December 18. That's when police say Leblanc set Shumate on fire as a joke, but things quickly turned serious. Shumate ran outside and took his pants off to get the fire out.
"The individual was able to put the fire out. He did receive second-degree burns and at that time he was transported to Florida Hospital Apopka," said Popp.
Police said Shumate did not press charges for aggravated assault, but now Leblanc, an eight-year firefighter who turns 45 years old Tuesday, will face two felony charges for arson.
"Because of the fact arson was committed at the scene, the fire marshal had to be notified of the incident and they're looking into the certification aspect of the firefighter involved," Popp said.
WFTV went to Leblanc's apartment to hear his side of the story, but he wasn't home.
The Apopka fire department said Leblanc has resigned since the incident, but the department is still conducting its own internal investigation.
It's not known if Leblanc has been stripped of his fire certification. Apopka police will wrap up its investigation and Leblanc will be charged sometime Tuesday.
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