Montgomery Assistant Fire Chief Bill Davis says, "It's a sad day for the fire service."
His job was to put out fires. Now 21 year old Jason Michael Green stands accused of starting one. "He's just a young man who made a bad decision," said State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk.
Investigators are looking into 15 arsons over a year and a half. Fourteen of the 15 fires were in vacant houses or buildings. The other was in an office that was empty at the time of the fire. Sheriff D.T. Marshall says, "You have people driving at high rates of speed to get to these fires. You have the fire people putting the fires out. There is always a risk of someone getting hurt. I'm sure that never entered their minds while they were doing this."
All the fires were in the Pike Road area where Green is a volunteer fire fighter. Authorities have fingered Green in only one of those fires set in June of 2005. It was a barn on Wallahatchie Road. "We hope the public in no way lets this reflect on the volunteer fire fighters."
Green is also a Montgomery fire fighter. Assistant Chief Davis says green is a model fire fighter. He is now on administrative leave. "He has cooperated with this investigation," says Davis.
Authorities say this arrest is just the beginning. The investigation continues and officials believe they will soon make more arrests. Paulk says, "If you commit a crime, you take a chance. You're betting that you can get away with it, some don't get caught, many do."
Green faces one count of arson second degree. That's a felony. If convicted, he could face two to 20 years in prison. As we mentioned, officers expect to make more arrests. Authorities are still offering a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for the 15 fires. If you have information that might help authorities, call the arson hotline. That number is 1-800-654-0775.