Arson suspect charged with 4 more fires
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Todd Deem II of Lehighton, center, is escorted from the office of District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton on Wednesday.
A former Carbon County firefighter already charged in connection with two barn fires faces four more counts of arson.
Todd Deem II, 19, of 39 Sambrooke Circle, Lehighton, was granted a continuance as part of a preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton.
Last week, Deem was charged with setting two barns on fire in East Penn Township. On Wednesday, he was charged with starting four other fires in East Penn and Franklin Township.
Deem faces multiple charges of arson and related offenses, as well as counts of criminal mischief; possession of explosives or incendiary materials or devices; penalty for causing fires; risking a catastrophe; reckless burning or exploding; recklessly endangering another person;
He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing before Appleton at 10:30 a.m. on May 25. He has been returned to Carbon County Prison in lieu of $30,000, 10-percent bail.
William Johnson, who owns one of the barns that was burned to the ground, said it was estimated that $100,000 worth of damage was done to the 150-year-old structure.
"We've got our work cut out to get things back under control," Johnson said. "I was angry, the fact that he had grown up across the street."
However, Johnson said he wasn't all that surprised by Deem's actions.
"Knowing that it was he, I wasn't all that surprised," he said. "He was a different kind of kid."
State police Fire Marshal David Klitsch said it's a "sad day for fire service."
"It was a typical investigation, asking questions, researching how the fires were called in," Klitsch said. "He has admitted to all of the charges; four today, and two the other day."
Klitsch said he preferred not to comment directly about Deem.
"He has personal issues; he has a lot going on in his world right now," he said. "That was one of the ways he felt to relieve his stress."
Deem faces charges for the incidents that occurred at a vacant school house located at 1828 West Lizard Creek Road in East Penn Township on April 19; a barn located at 2556 West Lizard Creek Road in East Penn Township on April 10; a vacant barn located on Germans Road in East Penn Township about two-tenths of a mile south of State Route 895 on March 21; on Bake Oven Road in East Penn Township on March 20; at West Valley Road in Franklin Township on Sept. 11, 2010; and at the rear of 565 Vine St. in Franklin Township on Sept. 6, 2010.
Deem said he has been experiencing a lot of stress, and that setting the fires and being with the fire company relieved his stress.