Missouri Firefighter Charged With Arson

A Missouri volunteer firefighter is facing three arson-related felonies for a series of fires dating back to last year. Joshua A. Gerstner, 19, was charged today with three counts of “knowingly burning or exploding.”

Gerstner was a firefighter with the Russellville-Lohman Fire Protection District. He reportedly confessed to setting a hay barn on fire last November, and setting to grass fires in February.

Investigators contend Gerstner set the hay barn on fire out of anger, and the two grass fires because he was bored. The hay barn was owned by his girlfriend’s family. He became a suspect because he was close to each scene or reported them.

According to ABC17, Gerstner has been suspended from the Russellville-Lohman Fire Protection District. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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