Two Volunteer Firefighters Arrested For Burning Down Amish Furniture Shop

Two volunteer firefighters have been charged with arson in the burning of an Amish furniture shop in Pennsylvania.

The community in question is Smicksburg (Indiana County), one of the larger settlements in the state. Byler’s Custom Built Aspen Log Furniture burned down in a fire back in January.

This was one of four Amish business fires which I noted at the time had happened in a span of about two weeks.

Image: WPXI

I have to admit when I saw “volunteer firefighters” and “Pennsylvania” in the headline, I feared that this might be a case of Amish youth gone wrong. Young Amish people frequently volunteer in fire companies particularly in Lancaster County.

But going by the last names, it seems these are non-Amish suspects – two men ages 19 and 22.

One of them admitted to the pair throwing a Molotov cocktail through the building of Roman Byler’s shop to set the blaze which rapidly “gutted” the business.

Their fire company, Plumville Volunteer Fire Department, ended up responding to that blaze.

There are also 11 other “suspicious” fires in the area dating back to summer of 2018, which authorities are investigating in relation to this case. The WPXI video report gives detail on the case, with comments from State Trooper Clifford Greenfield.

Hard to know what is going on here. You have to wonder what’s going on in someone’s head when a person whose responsibility it is to protect the community from fires, goes about intentionally setting them.

I have heard of some people setting fires and then swooping in to save the day in a falsely-generated hero scenario. Perhaps that is what is happening here.

Fortunately there was no loss of life or injuries. But this is pretty serious business, especially if the pair are responsible for serial arson in this community.

Trooper Greenfield urges support for members of the fire department: “Our local firefighters are going through a really tough time right now. They’re putting their lives on the line, taking away time from their jobs, from their families, to risk their safety for us.”

Unsurprisingly, Roman Byler bounced back – seemingly just a bit slower than the fire which claimed his workshop.

After only about a month had passed, he had already rebuilt the shop, and is back to business.

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    9 Comments

    1. Donald

      Hmmm!

      Are you kidding me? Just to look heroic? WOW!

      1. Well, I don’t think anyone knows if that was the motivation for sure in this case. As I wrote it in the post, that was just my speculation based on other previous incident(s) I’d heard of. Jon below suggests another similar example.

    2. Debbie

      Disgusting

      That is a really horrible thing to do & I hope they are held financially liable. I don’t think Amish carry insurance.

      1. Donald Harris

        Hmmm

        I don’t think they do either. They don’t believe in social security or anything like that either

    3. Jon

      Not All That Unusual....Sometimes

      Not long ago an “expert” in arson was convicted in California for arson when it was discovered that he was starting fires. Not surprisingly, he seemed to be present during these fires and was hailed as a hero for discovering/fighting these same fires.
      Sound familiar?
      The Amish probably wouldn’t fight fires for the adulation it brings, they would do it simply because it was necessary.

    4. Margaret

      Despicable

      I hope they are permanently blocked from ever working with ANY fire department again. Volunteer or otherwise. Once a firebug ALWAYS a firebug. There is NO redemption. Perhaps not the Christian attitude…but they could easily escalate to far worse.

      Lock ‘em up and toss the key.

      1. Jon

        Reply to "Despicable".

        Not to worry, once these two are convicted they will never be allowed to work another fire or police department, ever.
        The problem here is that IF these guys were seeking something other than professional adulation they could continue setting fires until they are permanently incarcerated or dead (often in a fire).

      2. I forgot about that term “firebug”. To me it just doesn’t seem to fit the act – it sounds so much lighter and less serious than “arsonist”, almost like it’s a playful game. But that’s one thing I appreciate about the English language. Rich vocabulary. Anyway to your point, I would doubt they’d ever be able to qualify for a public protection position again with this on their record (as Jon suggests as well).

    5. Brianna Wojciechowicz

      It happens more than you think

      We had a few of our young volunteer firemen around here pull the same crap. Its like they get board or something and want to fight fires but can’t wait for one to happen so they make it happen. Smdh.