Volunteer Firefighter Sentenced to 20 years in Prison For Arson

A 20-year old volunteer firefighter from Indiana who admitted to setting multiple structure fires last year was sentenced today to serve 20 years in prison.

Former Perry Township volunteer firefighter Adam Selbee pled guilty to four counts of arson. He was sentenced by Lawrence County Superior Court Judge William Sleva to 8 years consecutive on each count, totaling 32 years. Judge Selva suspended 12 years of the sentence, leaving Selbee with 20 to serve and 12 years of probation.

Selbee is the grandson of former Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Max Peters. Selbee, Chief Peters, township trustee Bob Phillips, and the fire department are being sued by one of the property owner’s whose home was destroyed.

Selbee was accused of doing more than just setting fires. He admitted to causing several vehicle accidents by throwing large objects into a roadway. WBIW quoted Lawrence County Detective Tyler Phillips as saying:

  • There was a common time period for the accidents
  • They occurred on third shift when it was dark…between midnight and 5 a.m.
  • First he admitted to placing the objects in the roadway, then setting the hay bales on fire and then the structure fires and then confessed to setting the gym on fire.
  • When asked why he said he enjoyed responded to the calls…trying to be a hero fighting the fires…he got pleasure out of doing it.

Selbee was typically the first firefighter to arrive on scene and in some cases the one who reported the incidents.

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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