UPDATE: LaFayette Volunteer Firefighter Charged with Arson

LaFayette, GA police believe they have solved a series of arson fires of vacant houses with the arrest of a volunteer firefighter.

Public Safety Director Tommy Freeman says 32-year-old Marvin Calvin Chase was charged with one count of arson so far but more than twenty charges are pending.

LaFayette Police Department Detective Stacy Meeks, who has been investigating the arsons for months, says Chase was a suspect for awhile. Police brought him in for questioning yesterday, after receiving a tip. During the questioning, police tell us Chase calmly admitted to burning down thirty vacant homes over the past five years- all during the time he held the title as one of the city’s volunteer firefighters. In fact, Meeks says Chase began his arson spree within months of becoming a volunteer firefighter.

Police say Chase would start fires, drive back to his home, then respond to fight the flames. Often times, he was the first to respond. Meeks says there were a couple reasons why Chase started the fires. “The volunteers get paid so much money per structure fire that they respond to on duty. So he was reaping financial benefit from it,” explains Meeks. “And he was getting a thrill out of it.

Oddly enough, it’s a reason quite common for firefighters. The Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office reports that over the past five years more than sixty firefighters have committed arson statewide.

Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Tim Sizemore tells us when it comes to pyromania, arson and firefighting can come hand in hand. “They may spend time at the local fire department, set fires to be affiliated with the fire or even become firefighters,” Dr. Sizemore explains. “If you’re interested in one thing, you want to be around it, whatever it takes.”

No one was seriously injured in the flames allegedly caused by Chase, but there was significant loss for Monnie Loveless. Police say her home was burnt down by an arsonist in October and now officials are saying it’s highly likely Chase was the one who did it. “Really, I just can’t tell you what that house meant,” explains Loveless. “I lost a part of history, not just material things.”

Chase is also an employee of the City of LaFayette with the wastewater division. Police say the investigation into Chase’s alleged arson attempts will be lengthy.

This news, UPDATE: LaFayette Volunteer Firefighter Charged with Arson citation from News Channel 9

Short URL: http://www.usnews9.com/?p=4365

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