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Fake Firefighter Put On Three-Year Probation

The Buffalo News via YellowBrix

April 05, 2011

LITTLE VALLEY — An Olean man Monday was placed on probation for three years for impersonating a firefighter during an arson blaze that destroyed the abandoned Fancher Furniture Co. factory in Salamanca last May 7.

Bradley M. Thomas, 31, was sentenced by Cattaraugus County Judge Larry Himelein on the misdemeanor criminal impersonation charge.

Thomas arrived on the scene of the fire wearing a helmet and jacket from the Kill Buck Fire Department and an air pack from the Salamanca Fire Department, and claiming to be a Machias firefighter, District Attorney Lori A. Riemann said.

County officials called the Rochester Street industrial site fire the largest in the county in several decades. More than 40 fire companies fought the blaze. Loss was put at $1.2 million.

The fire spread from the furniture factory across the street to a second former Fancher building and another occupied by Luminite Products Co.

Salamanca police later arrested six juveniles, ages 12 to 15, on arson-related charges. The disposition of their criminal cases could not be determined Monday.