Former Shady Grove volunteer firefighters Kristopher Lecabellec and Tate Pankowski are each charged with four counts of arson. (Photo source: WDAM)
Tate Pankowski (Photo source: Jones County Jail)
Kristopher Lecabellec (Photo source: Jones County Jail)
JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) -
Jones County Fire Coordinator Dan McKenna is speaking out following the arrest of two former volunteer firefighters who are now out on bond for arson charges.
"I was devastated. I couldn't believe it. I never would have thought that any of our firefighters in Jones County would have done such an act," said McKenna.
Former Shady Grove volunteer firefighters Kristopher Lecabellec and Tate Pankowski are each charged with four counts of arson by the Deputy State Fire Marshal. The investigation determined the duo intentionally started brush fires in Jones County.
"This certainly was an embarrassment to every firefighter in the county here who every day goes out and does their job in a way they need to be doing it," said McKenna.
After an internal investigation, McKenna said 911 calls reporting the actual fires are believed to have been made from one of the former firefighter's cell phone.
"Some do it for excitement. Some do it for money, particularly those that get paid to respond to calls. They will do it for money to increase their income. Some do it for the thrill of it. I don't know what thrill they get out of it," said McKenna.
In this case, the two were strictly volunteers and did not get paid for their services. McKenna said within the 18 volunteer fire departments across the county, the elite group will continue to serve its residents.
"They threaten the trust of every citizen in Jones County towards every volunteer fire department. It's not just Shady Grove affected," said McKenna.
The suspects are currently out on bond awaiting their preliminary hearings, where they will enter a plea.