$500K Fire Set by... Aspiring Firefighter

Joseph Brannen, 18, admits to arson

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 24, 2013 9:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – Firefighters who turned up to battle flames at a Florida library found a guy in firefighting gear was already on the scene. They asked Joseph Brannen, 18, where he'd gotten his protective clothing; he said he bought it on eBay, officials say. He added that he'd heard the call on his scanner and responded. Firefighters—the real ones—already thought the fire had suspicious origins; now, they believed they'd found their arsonist.

Brannen later admitted that he'd set the blaze himself. His Facebook profile included an image of him in firefighting bunker gear, and claimed he worked for the fire department, which he told officials was his dream. Now, he's been charged with arson in the library fire, which did $500,000 worth of damage, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

An aspiring firefighter admitted setting a $500,000 fire.
An aspiring firefighter admitted setting a $500,000 fire.   (Shutterstock)
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