IWA for August 27, 2006
I absolutely hate this type of thing. I was a volunteer firefighter for Salisbury Mills Fire Company back in NY. I was part of the search and rescue team. I really enjoyed that for the time I participated.
My Father was a firefighter his whole life. Also totally volunteer. I have relatives and friends in Fire Companies all up and down the east coast. I believe these are some of the bravest people that even exist. I consider the volunteers are even braver. Not to take anything away from those that do this for a living, but these volunteer firefighters do this because they WANT to, not to get paid. But either way, those that chose to do this, to run into places most are running out of, should be praised and honored to the highest degree.
This is why when this type of thing, which does happen more often than you think, comes about, I get so angry about it. It seems that Levy Miller, 21, is in the Lemhi County Jail charged with starting an August 13 blaze on the outskirts of Salmon, an area of thick forests and natural beauty. Officials said that the half acre blaze was put out quickly by fire crews.
But here is the problem. Levy Miller is a federal firefighter in Idaho. According to Reuters
"Lemhi County Sheriff Sam Slavin said Miller, who has worked as a firefighter with the federal Bureau of Land Management for two years, persuaded a Salmon teen to start the August 13 fire "to drum up business."
Miller is also a suspect in a series of 2003 fires that broke out in the Salmon-Challis National Forest near the Idaho-Montana border. "We're looking potentially at a lot of dollars in damages," Slavin said."
Also according to the article, one of the reasons this type of thing happens is, "an excuse to get a paycheck", so says Terry Edwards, Deputy State Fire Marshal in Idaho. His reasoning is that fires can bring in money from the state and federal governments.
But I truly believe that the overriding factor to this type of behavior is simply the "Hero factor." You see Firefighters praised in the news, TV, movies, and people talk all the time about how they are Heros. How they are brave. They even, rightly so, get medals and awards. Almost every little boy, and sometimes girl, wants to be either an Astronaut, Police Officer, or Firefighter.
I truly hope that Mr. Miller gets jail time for this. To put people and wildlife in harms way, just to either get a paycheck or be a Hero, is both criminal and stupid. Congratulations Mr. Miller. You ARE the Idiot of the Week.