HAUPPAGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Three volunteer firefighters in Suffolk County stand accused of arson.
Acting Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron announced the arrests of Austin Lehman, Shawn Key and Stephen Hernandez during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. They were each taken into custody Monday in Central Islip and have pleaded not guilty.
Cameron said their arrests stem from four arson cases in Central Islip and one in Hauppauge between October 2017 and January 2018.
All five of the structures were abandoned. No one was hurt in any of the fires.
“What they did put their fellow firefighters in jeopardy,” Cameron said.
He would not comment on a motive but said a pattern in the cases prompted the arson investigation.
“Sounds like a movie I’ve seen,” one resident told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“They should be arrested and thrown in jail – plain and simple,” another added.
“Can’t believe they put people’s lives at risk,” said one woman.
“My brother-in-law is a volunteer firefighter and he risks his life all the time,” a woman said.
Cameron called the case an “anomaly” and said volunteer firefighters across Long Island are respected, honest and hardworking.