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  • Once again...

    This stuff will never end.

    Two charged with setting at least 30 fires
    The Associated Press
    11/20/01 6:59 PM
    MAPLE SHADE, N.J. (AP) -- Two rescue squad members were charged Tuesday with setting at least 30 fires in Camden and Burlington counties between Nov. 6 and Nov. 19.

    Police in Maple Shade said they arrested James T. Shue, 23, of Pennsauken, and Douglas S. Mandichak, 19, of Maple Shade and charged them with eight arsons in the township, including a Nov. 7 fire at the township's heavy rescue squad headquarters.

    Both men were members of the Maple Shade heavy and Palmyra ambulance squads.

    Police said the pair is also accused of setting 15 fires in Cherry Hill, three in Pennsauken, two in Merchantville and others in Palmyra, Riverton and Medford.

    Shue is accused of setting fire to an ambulance facility in Palmyra and a barn in Medford.

    None of the blazes resulted in injuries.

    But the two at rescue facilities and the one in a Medford barn caused heavy damage, said Maple Shade Police Det. Sgt. Gary Gubbei.

    "Some people just like fires," Gubbei said.

    Both suspects were in the Burlington County Jail on Tuesday with bail set at $130,000 each just for the Maple Shade charges. Shue had an additional $30,000 bail for his Palmyra charge.

    Both were scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Mount Holly on Wednesday.

  • #2
    More bottom of the barrel scum. That's about the nicest thing I can think to say about these cretins. My vote says burn them at the stake. Then we'll see how much they like fire.

    Stay safe all.
    Stay safe all.


    • #3
      Ya know, when I see stuff like that it just makes me fume There's gotta be a fitting punishment. But burning them at the stake would be too quick. Maybe required community service time in a burn unit would help the whack-o's.!!

      BTW George, didn't you used to play "Norm" on a sit-com?
      - Remember our brothers in FDNY -


      • #4

        Since this happened in my area, Im reading about it in the paper and from talking to some of the investigators. These guys weren't volunteer firefighters, but it brings up a question. I know we have been bogged down a number of times trying to get a background check done through the PD and still get members on in a reasonable time. What do you think the FD and PD can do to check out the prospective members more thoroughly?


        • #5
          I have to agree, these guys are the worst kind of scum. Any punishment they receive will be too easy on them.

          Halligan, you might check out a site called www.preemploy.com. We use it to screen prospective employees at my full time job and I am in the process of selling the powers that be at my vollie dept on the idea of using it as well. I am in no way affiliated with this organization, but according to the HR Dept at my paid job it works very well and is quite thorough.

          [ 11-21-2001: Message edited by: PyroSlayer ]


          • #6
            Regarding background checks, the problem is most of the fire-service fire-setters are young. Teenagers, maybe early 20s, seldom older.

            Often, they're not going to have criminal records yet, and I'm not sure if a police background check would show up juvenile offenses if any.

            To flush it out would probably take pyschological exams, and that's more involved and costly then simply running someone's name through a computer.

            IACOJ Canine Officer


            • #7
              RE: Background checks

              In NJ, our hands are somewhat tied due to restrictions that are placed on things like juvenile court records and access to criminal histories and drivers license histories.

              Here are some practical suggestions;

              1. Use an application that provides (much) more information than a basic name and address form. Get information such as past and present employers, schools and personal references. Have the applicant sign a release form that gives the department specific permission to obtain any and all information necessary to complete the background.

              2. Make sure your department commits to the idea of conducting a background check and do it on every applicant, no matter whose son he is. Have a committee conduct and review the invest and use an objective, verifiable and fair standard with which to judge the applicant. Remember, without a full commitment to do the check on every applicant, your chances of succesfully disqualifying an applicant are slim, as an arbitrary policy will not withstand legal scrutiny.

              3. Have the applicant obtain and submit a copy of a certified abstract of his driver's history. This accomplishes two things; it verifies a vaild license and gives you a basic idea of what type of person you are dealing with (DUI, warrants, non-payment, recklessness, etc.)

              4. Have the committee interview, in depth, every applicant. Rememberm, the eyes are the window to the soul.

              The best check would be a thorough psychological examination. This is not possible at this time in most places for a volunteer organization. But I have seen a study that concludes that most FF arsonists could be weeded out with a comprehensive background.

              I know, I know...we are only volunteers and if we do this stuff it might make people not join and how do we have time to do this and we have no right to ask people about their personal lives and blah, blah, blah.

              If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.


              • #8
                Anything that happens when a child is a juvenille can most of the time be 'sealed' for ten years past the time of the offense, and then it's thrown out.

                What if someone set fires @ the age of 15, hurt or killed some unsuspecting people? Would there records be sealed, and there be no way of confirming it ever happened?

                (where is Dr. Law when we need him)
                May God bless all the people and families who have lost
                their lives on 9-11-01, to those also lost on Flight 587, and to the rescuers who responded to both.

                "I'm not saying it's right, i'm just saying (the way it is)."

                FDNY-EMS - Still New York's Best!

                e-mail always accepted @
                [email protected]


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Halligan84:

                  Since this happened in my area, Im reading about it in the paper and from talking to some of the investigators. These guys weren't volunteer firefighters, but it brings up a question. I know we have been bogged down a number of times trying to get a background check done through the PD and still get members on in a reasonable time. What do you think the FD and PD can do to check out the prospective members more thoroughly?
                  Halligan & George (and any other NJ FF),

                  Talk to your local Assemblyperson/Senator. There is a lot of interest at the State level in doing background checks. If they pass a new Statute, perhaps FF could be added as a requirement.
                  The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!


                  • #10
                    What "interest at the State level? There is no pending legislation. I'll bet NJDFS wouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole. The NJSP and locals aren't interested. Please share who is interested.


                    • #11
                      Background checks? Here is why a straight criminal history check won't work. It MUST be done with fingerprints.


                      Troubled fireman, 19, charged with arson

                      Copyright 2001 The Atlanta Constitution
                      The Atlanta Journal and Constitution...11/23/2001

                      A man on probation in Georgia for stealing firefighting gear and impersonating a fire medic was arrested in Alabama last week on a charge of second-degree arson.

                      Damon T. Young, 19, a volunteer firefighter who moved to Alabama just five weeks ago, was arrested in Etowah County, Ala., and charged with setting a mobile home ablaze, according to the Gadsden Times newspaper.

                      Young also was charged with two counts of setting woods fires. All three charges are felonies. Bond was set at $ 10,000.

                      Officials at the Highland Volunteer Fire Department, where Young volunteered, became suspicious after 19 fires in 15 days.

                      Young was convicted in Georgia of theft of turnout gear from a fire department and for impersonating a fire medic, said Etowah County Sheriff's Department Investigator P.J. Pruett.

                      Young applied to the Highland department on Oct. 23, said department official Ed Minton.

                      While checking out the references and other information on the application, Minton said, he discovered Young had given him the wrong name and Social Security number.

                      He got in touch with officials in Cherokee County and learned that Young was on probation in Georgia. A condition was that he not leave the state.

                      After a two-week investigation by the Etowah County Sheriff's Department, the state fire marshal's office and the Alabama Forestry Commission, the fire-related charges were brought, Pruett said.

                      Another condition of the probation was that Young have no contact with any paid or volunteer fire departments.

                      Young's probation was revoked after Georgia officials learned of the fire department application.


                      • #12
                        I would think these kids (sorry to pigeonhole, but a lot of this stuff is done by very young adults) would learn that people get caught when they do this.

                        I'm really frustrated...hundreds of firefighters selflessly gave their lives on 9-11...and hundreds do every single year. How selfish that these punks pull s#!t like this!!! And what the hell for?!
                        We're all in this together. FDNY 9-11-01


                        • #13
                          In Florida, I had to be fingerprinted before I could go to EMT school or the fire acadamy. I was also fingreprinted prior to employment. The county volunteer department also requires fingerprinting. I belive the basic principle is that we are trusted to protect others property and there are occasions that we will be exposed to "tempting" opportunities.

                          Juvenile records are sealed, so, anyone under the age of 18 can pretty much do anything and you won't find it on a background check. Also, for a certain amount of money, an adults records can be expunged. So things an individual has done as an adult also might not show. That isn't even getting into the difference of record keeping in various states, which is also a factor.

                          I think the answer is getting together with the department, arson investigators and a psychiatrist and developing a pre-hiring or pre-volunteering test that might help weed out individuals who are prone to arson. Some departments already have testing similar to that. I seem to recall watching a "Working Fire" video regarding arson awareness that highlighted one of those departments.

                          I think this is another instance where someone is just going to have to take the lead and set the example. We can't afford to wait for the government to make a decision for us, especially when we basically teach people how to break into places and how to set good fires.

                          If anyone is interested, I'll try to find the video I mentioned and get the information. Just drop me an email.

                          Stay safe and Happy Holidays
                          Bless all of our Fallen Brothers and Sisters. You will not be forgotten


                          • #14
                            In my experience, FL is ahead of the curve on this stuff. If I'm not mistaken, some departments make a polygraph exam mandatory.

                            Your ideas are good ones.


                            • #15
                              Here's one from my backyard with a slightly different twist.
                              This guy is a former volly from Chatham Boro, NJ
                              Long Valley man jailed after 9-11 solicitation


                              BY MATTHEW J. DOWLING
                              STAR-LEDGER STAFF

                              A man who said he was a fireman collecting donations for families of the Sept. 11 victims was arraigned yesterday in Superior Court in Flemington on charges of threatening a Tewksbury police officer who confronted him about his claims.

                              Philip Cise, 37, of Long Valley, who called himself "Fire Fighter Phil," was arrested last week after Tewksbury police challenged him about "the Fire Fighter Phil Foundation," police said.

                              Cise threatened to assault police Cpl. Tim Barlow, authorities said, and faces a third-degree charge of making terroristic threats.

                              "There's no foundation and he's not a fireman," Hunterdon County Prosecutor Stephen Rubin said. "He was apparently soliciting funds in the Tewksbury area."

                              Cise was arrested Nov. 19 and spent Thanksgiving weekend in Hunterdon County Jail.

                              Before being led back to the jail, where he was being held on $15,000 bail, Cise called yesterday's short proceeding before Superior Court Judge Ann Bartlett an "injustice."

                              Cise became animated and loud several times while awaiting the start of the arraignment. As he entered the courtroom shackled to two other prisoners and wearing an orange jail uniform, Cise directed several comments toward a detective who participated in his arrest.

                              "I didn't get to have my Thanksgiving at home with my kids," Cise said angrily. "I had Thanksgiving in a jail cell with four walls."

                              Sheriff's officers threatened to seek a contempt-of-court charge if Cise didn't keep calm.

                              Cise had been working with Mari Watts Hitchcock, an artist from Tewksbury, to raise money in the wake of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center. Hitchcock painted a portrait to commemorate the efforts of the New York City fire and police departments. Cise had the painting printed on postcards that were to be sold to raise funds.

                              Hitchcock said yesterday that she severed her relationship with Cise after being told that his foundation did not exist.

                              "He misled us," Hitchcock said. "I have nothing to do with his foundation."

                              Hitchcock said she is still selling the postcards at stores in Tewksbury but that all of the proceeds go directly to the nationally recognized Sept. 11 funds.

                              Rubin said the investigation into Cise's actions is continuing.


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