NANTICOKE — A volunteer firefighter with the Shickshinny Fire Department was charged Tuesday with intentionally setting two fires inside a vacant residence of a double-block house in Mocanaqua.
Corey Michael Davis, 20, of 30 Italy St., Mocanaqua, allegedly admitted to setting the fires “because of the rush he got from the fires,” according to the criminal complaint.
Davis was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke on two counts of arson with intent to cause danger of death or bodily injury, two counts of arson involving inhabited structure and two counts of arson with reckless endangerment of inhabited buildings.
He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $50,000 bail.
According to the criminal complaint filed by state police at Shickshinny:
Firefighters in Shickshinny and Mocanaqua responded to 28 Italy St. for a fire on Jan. 31. The fire damaged the vacant side of the double block. The other half of the double block, 30 Italy St., was occupied by Davis.
An investigation by state police deputy fire marshal Trooper Ron Jarocha determined the fire was intentionally set with two points of origin.
Davis was questioned by investigators on March 17. Investigators allege Davis admitted he entered the vacant residence and held a lighter to a closet door jamb on the first floor on Jan. 31. Davis extinguished the fire and returned to his residence.
Later, Davis stated, he returned to the vacant residence and held a lighter to the same closet door jamb, igniting the wood. The second fire was discovered by Davis’ mother, who called 911, the complaint says.
Davis responded to the blaze with other firefighters on Jan. 31, according to the complaint.
Several photos on Davis’ Facebook page show him battling a fire wearing firefighting gear and a Shickshinny Volunteer Fire Company sweatshirt.
During a news conference Tuesday evening in the Shickshinny Fire Department, Chief Kevin Morris said Davis was new to the department, having only been there for about a year, but he was an active member.
“He was a member of good standing,” Morris said of Davis. “He was a good member, a good firefighter.”
Davis’ brother and parents are currently members of the department, Morris said.
He told members of the press that before any firefighter is permitted to join the ranks, he or she first undergoes a background check.
“There was nothing in his background that would bar him from being a member of the fire company,” Morris said.
The department screens potential members for any record of arson, major theft, child abuse or causing false alarm, he said.
“There were no red flags,” Morris said.
Holly Morris, the department’s treasurer and Kevin Morris’s wife, said the department is regrouping and will move forward.
“At this point, all we can do is continue to serve and protect our community,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that this happened, and all we can do is pick up the pieces and move on.”
A preliminary hearing for Davis is scheduled on April 2.