Firefighter charged with starting forest fire


Last week, upstate New York saw a forest fire which destroyed nine acres of plants and trees.

Not only did the city lose a huge amount of forest, but it took more than five hours in order to get the fire under control. Surprisingly, there were no injuries caused as a result of the fire, but there were nine fire companies which were brought in after it was started.

Nicholas Hughes, a volunteer firefighter, would be expected to be putting out fires rather than starting them, but the recent charges made against him suggest otherwise.

The 24-year old, from Wappinger, has been volunteering with the East Fishkill Fire Department. The department aims to prevent fires wherever possible, encouraging residents in the area to check their smoke detectors are properly maintained.

The fire was started on April 15th. The forest, near the Dutchess Rail Trail close to where Hughes lives, was set alight but it is not known exactly how the blaze was started. According to the charges which have been made, the police believe that Hughes intentionally set the forest on fire for reasons which are not yet known.

At the moment, there is no knowledge of whether or not Hughes has an attorney to defend him in this case. He was arrested on April 22nd.

Setting the forest on fire isn’t the only charge which Hughes is facing, however. First-degree reckless endangerment and fifth-degree arson are also crimes which he has been charged with.

Hughes was placed under electronic monitoring after he had been arrested and the investigation is ongoing. The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office is currently asking that anybody with information step forward in order that it may be used to investigate the case.

The investigation is aided by the New York State Forest Rangers and the Dutchess County Attorney’s Office, among other departments.