Pa. firefighter accused of arson waives hearing

January 13, 2011 9:14:34 AM PST
A former firefighter from Montgomery County charged with arson waived his preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Douglas Gauger was in court on charges that he set three fires in Limerick between January 17th, 2010 and July 1st, 2010.

Gauger is accused of setting a fire at the Trinley River Park that destroyed a pavilion, a fire at the Western Montgomery County Vo/Tech school that destroyed two garages and a fire on Benner Road that damaged a home.

Each fire occurred within the Linfield Fire Company's first response and assist districts, the D.A.'s office said. At the time of the fires, Gauger was a volunteer firefighter for the Linfield Fire Company.

Investigators said, in each of the four fires, Gauger returned to the scene to fight the fire after setting it.

Shortly after the fire at the Western Montco Vo/Tech school, authorities said, Gauger showed a friend burns he received on his leg fighting the fire. However, no firefighter reported being injured as a result of the fire.

While detectives were investigating these fires, another Linfield firefighter - Charles Sluzenski - was arrested for starting unrelated fires in Pottstown and West Pottsgrove in April 2010.

Shortly after, Gauger left the Linfield Fire Company and moved to West Virginia, the D.A. said. He was eventually questioned by detectives and arrested at the time for setting a fire on December 7th on Possum Hollow Road in Limerick. He was charged with the other fires in early January.