A volunteer firefighter has been charged with setting a barn on fire in Carbon County.
State police Trooper Cpl. Shawn Hilbert, Troop N Fire Marshal Unit supervisor at Hazleton, said Todd Alan Deem II, 19, of 105 Dorset Rd., in New Ringgold, Schuylkill County, has been charged with three counts of arson and related offenses and one count each of recklessly endangering another person and criminal mischief.
Deem is a volunteer with the West Penn Township Fire Company in Andreas, Schuylkill County.
However, he is not an active member with the company, according to West Penn Fire Company Chief, Dennis Fritzinger, Jr.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on March 21 about 5:23 a.m. East Penn Township Fire Company was dispatched to a fire at a vacant barn located along Germans Road, about two-tenths of a mile south of SR895.
The state police fire marshal unit called to investigate determined that the fire was deliberately set. It was noted that the barn had no utilities.
Through the course of the investigation Deem was identified as a suspect in the incident. The probe determined between 11 p.m. and midnight on March 20, Deem set the fire and it smoldered overnight until spotted by a passing motorist the next morning.
Deem was interviewed on Tuesday, April 19, by Hilbert at the Lehighton barracks concerning the fire and other fires that have occurred in East Penn Township. After waving his Miranda Warnings, Deem admitted setting the barn fire.
Deem told troopers he was operating a 1991 Honda Civic along Germans Road towards SR895 when he crossed the oncoming lane, stopped his car, and opened the driver's side door. He leaned out the door and used a lighter to ignite leaves on fire. He then drove away. He told Hilbert that the East Penn Fire Company was dispatched to the fire, but he did not respond as a firefighter because he was a member of the West Penn Fire Company.
Deem also told Hilbert that he has been experiencing a lot of stress and by setting the fire and being with a fire company, it relieved this stress.
Hilbert reported that the barn is a 20-foot by 12-foot wood frame and is owned by Jeffrey Fogel. Damages were estimated at $1,000.
The charges were filed with the office of District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton.