CHRIS ROCKWELL IS TRAINING COORDINATOR FOR THE CLEARWATER VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT.
HE AND FIRE CHIEF SAM TURNER SAY ITS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT TWO MEN THEY TAUGHT TO FIGHT FIRES ARE NOW BEING ACCUSED OF STARTING THEM.
I was very surprised, expecially somebody that trained under me. It kind of makes me feel, did i do a good enough job?
I spoke with Daniel Boatwright. He came by was talking to me, brought is kids in to take a look at the equipment, never had any indication this was going on
BROTHERS DANIEL AND CHRIS BOATWRIGHT LEFT THE DEPARTMENT IN SEPTEMBER ON GOOD TERMS.
ROCKWELL REMEMBERS THEM AS BEING AMBITIOUS AND EAGER TO LEARN.
Most of the time, you can pretty much tell as a training officer when an individual has an actual desire to want to be a firefighter. To me, thats what it seems like they had.
INVESTIGATORS SAY THEY BELIEVE BOTH MEN ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR A STRING OF FIRES IN DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA OVER THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS...INCLUDING..
-ONE AT THE SUBWAY ON 13TH STREET.
-ANOTHER AT THE JESSE NORMAN AMPHITHEATRE
-ONE IN THE MEN'S RESTROOM AT THE AUGUSTA COMMON
-AND ONE AT THE RED CROSS OFFICE ON ELLIS STREET.
It appalls me that somebody thats supposed to be out here protecting property, saving lives is willing to do this.
INVESTIGATORS HAVE NOT SAID WHAT LED THEM TO THE ARREST....
FIREFIGHTERS HERE SAY THEY ARE HAPPY THE MEN ARE IN CUSTODY BUT SAY THEY ARE'NT HAPPY ABOUT THESE MEN BEING ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR DEPARTMENT.
It sheds light on all the firefighters, whether they're paid or volunteers.
Its like a black eye, its going to take time to make things go way, but we can make it through anything.
ACCORDING TO CHIEF TURNER...EVEN THOUGH CLEARWATER HAS A VOLUNTEER DEPARTMENT....
A BACKGROUND CHECK IS STILL REQUIRED FOR EACH PERSON BEFORE THEY CAN WORK THERE.
HE SAYS WHEN A CHECK WAS DONE ON BOTH MEN...THEIR RECORD CAME BACK CLEAN.