Roxbury's PPE Stockpile Ruined in Alleged Arson Fire

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Cleanup continues Monday at Roxbury’s volunteer fire department after Connecticut State Police say it was intentionally set on fire Saturday.

“The building sustained heavy smoke damage,” said Roxbury Fire Chief Todd Wheeler, who says they’ve had to make other arrangements to continue service, like parking their trucks at the highway department headquarters and setting up offices in other town buildings.

Wheeler doesn't believe they'll be able to work out of the building for a couple of weeks.

To add insult to injury, restoration crews made another discovery Monday. The town’s stockpile of personal protection equipment for all emergency responders during the pandemic can’t be salvaged.

A man who state police believe is responsible for targeting multiple Connecticut EMS agencies with Molotov cocktails on Saturday night has been arrested and remains in custody in Pennsylvania on Sunday.

“As it is right now, most of it is going to have to be destroyed,” said Wheeler, pointing out the heavy smoke damage.

“We’re still fully capable of handling any 911 calls that come in, and we have enough equipment for a little while," he assured.

But now they're going to have to find more.

"During COVID, it is harder to get replacements in. It makes the work a little bit longer and harder to do."

While they search for more supply, investigators around the state continue to search for answers.

Police say 37-year-old Richard White of Torrington is accused of committing four arsons Saturday, including the one at the Roxbury firehouse.

Hunter’s Ambulance employees reported to Meriden Police that White was involved in a physical fight with another employee Saturday morning after a disciplinary hearing that put him on leave.

Just a couple of hours later, Meriden Police say White ignited a makeshift Molotov cocktail at the Hunter’s Ambulance base in Old Saybrook, followed by Hunter’s Meriden location.

State Police say he then set fire to the fire house and a home in Roxbury too.

“So we believe that residence was specifically targeted, as was the fire house, as where the other facilities in Meriden and Old Saybrook,” said Sgt. Paul Makuc with the Connecticut State Police Fire & Explosion Unit.

Monday, NBC Connecticut spoke to a person at the residence in Roxbury.

He told us he knows why the house was targeted, but he wouldn’t share that information with us.

Local EMS officials could not confirm if White had worked in town previously. As of Monday, he’s no longer an employee of Hunter’s Ambulance Service.

Chief Operating Officer David Lowell said in part that: Safety and security of our staff is primary in our minds. He said they will continue to look out for their staff's welfare as they do jobs in the public, at the same time as they pursue all legal actions against their former employee.

White is currently in custody in Pennsylvania, awaiting extradition to Connecticut.

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