GREENSBORO, N.C. - over 100 firefighters a year are arrested for arson charges – including a recent case from Davidson County. The numbers are igniting a national conversation and a report from the National Volunteer Fire Council.
“Firefighter arson is a lot more widespread than I think the public realizes,” said fire investigator Andrew Bennett.
It happens so often the Council even created a news release for departments to use if one of their own is caught and released a training video explaining why firefighters set things ablaze. One of the most common reasons is for the excitement and to feel like a hero.
The report claims Some firefighters who commit arson say there's peer pressure from older firefighters - claiming it's part of the hazing process and that the flames can be used for training.
"He could tell I enjoyed the fire service and I really enjoyed driving the trucks,” convicted firefighter arsonist Stephen Specth said. “And it's an addreial rush. It really is. I looked up to him and I feel like he kinda took advantage of the situation. Inquiring hey you can go do this. You're not going to get caught. I'll let you drive the firetruck. I'll teach you how to operate everything."
The Firefighters council recommends better profile and screening and increased education. But they say it's going to be hard to extinguish the problem of firefighter arsonists.
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