Volunteer Firefighter Sentenced for Arson

A former Whites Crossing, PA volunteer firefighter was sentenced on November 17, 2009 for his role in a number of arson fires that caused over $3 million in damages. Benjamin B. Christensen was sentenced to serve between 10 to 20 years in prison after pleading no contest to charges related to a string of seven fires that occurred between February 2007 and March 2008.

Christensen allegedly set five fires in 2007 and 2008 and conspired to set two others. Co-defendant Robert Woolaver Jr. is serving a 4 to 16 year sentence. Both were well known volunteer firefighters in the area. The fires occurred between February 2007 and March 2008. At one of the fires on March 31, 2008, a responding firefighter suffered a heart attack. The firefighter survived but continues to suffer from medical issues associated with the incident.

Christensen will also have to serve 20 years probation upon his release and pay $3 million is restitution.

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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