Indiana Homeowner Sues Fire Department Over Volunteer Arson

The owner of a mobile home in Perry Township, Indiana that was set on fire last year by a volunteer firefighter with a history of setting fires has filed suit against the fire department, the fire chief and the arsonist.

Duane Connaughton filed suit against the Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department over a fire that occurred on September 6, 2016. The suit also names the firefighter-arsonist, Adam Selbee, Fire Chief Max Peters, and Trustee Bob Phillips alleging a number of theories including:

  • arson
  • negligent hiring
  • negligent supervision
  • negligence
  • gross negligence
  • intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress
  • negligence per se

According to WBIW, Selbee, 19, has a history of fire setting that the department failed to address. According to Fox 59, Selbee told investigators he set the fires “because he enjoyed responding” to them. He was usually first at the scene or reported them.

Selbee, who is Chief Peters’ grandson, is current facing four counts or arson and three for criminal mischief. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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