After Setting Fires, Firefighter Wants Job Back

In 1997, Erie, Pa. hired its first female firefighter. Nearly a decade later, she was quietly fired after setting fire to her father’s house as part of a suicide attempt.  In fact, the Erie Civil Service Commission wrote at the time that: “Her setting a fire … is the single most significant act a fire fighter may not commit.  The act of establishing a fire in a residence is wholly incompatible with the role of the fire fighter, despite the mitigating circumstances of [her] psychological state.”  Now, she has brought her appeal public in a filing in local courts earlier this year. (, 3/24)


  • The article notes that she was not charged with arson in the incident.
    The city wanted to allow her to handle this in a quite manner, and passing on the criminal charges was probably a kind act, considering that as it was her home, mostly a victimless crime.
    If she does not want to uphold her end of the likely tacit bargain, then perhaps the arson charge should be reconsidered. That should substantially bolster the city’s justification for letting her go. It would also render her permanently unemployable as a first responder of any sort.

  • Probably the department’s fault for putting “Farenheit 451” next to the training manual on the bookshelf. That could confuse anyone.

  • She burned her house down! Since when do people setting houses on not get charged? If it happens again the city should be sued for incompetance