Accused Oklahoma Arsonist Charged With Endangering Lives Of Firefighters
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - A Muskogee woman could spend decades in prison after setting her boyfriend's apartment on fire and forcing multiple firefighters to risk their lives to put out the flames.
Fire Marshal Derrell Jones said he just learned about a state statute that says an arsonist can be charged with human endangerment for every firefighter who puts their life at risk working the call.
Muskogee Fire Captain Fred Kiser was on duty when the call came in that an apartment unit was going up in flames.
Nine firefighters rushed inside, fearing there might be people in there needing help.
"Sometimes, you have to put yourself into a little more harm's way than you'd like, but that's what we do," Kiser said.
The captain said it wasn't until later they realized someone set the fire on purpose.
"After the fact, you look back and think of the things that might've gone wrong for no reason at all," he said.
Brittany Anderson is accused of setting the fire to her boyfriend's apartment. Prosecutors not only charged her with first-degree arson, but she's also been hit with nine counts of endangering human life.
"We plan on using it from now on as a deterrent," Jones said.
The fire marshal said this is the first time he's recommended the charges in Muskogee.
"It's serious because it's endangering human life," Jones said.
A state statute says if an arsonist puts any life at risk, including all emergency personnel, it's a felony, and Jones wants people to take note.
"They may think twice about starting a fire," he said.
So he and his captains can make sure all their firefighters make it home safe from every call.
"As responders, every shift I tell my guys, ‘We're going home.’ And so that's what we want to do, is make sure we make it home," Kiser said.
If convicted, Anderson could get 10 years for each count of endangering human life. She faces up to 35 years in prison for the arson charge.