[cifnmedia] Firefighter Pleads Guilty in Ariz. Blaze

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 16:15:15 -0700 (PDT)

Updated: 10-20-2003 03:56:51 PM

Firefighter Pleads Guilty in Ariz. Blaze 
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) -- A part-time firefighter accused of trying to make work for 
himself by starting what became the largest wildfire in Arizona history pleaded 
guilty in the case Monday. 

The fire Leonard Gregg started last year combined with another to form the 
Rodeo-Chediski wildfire, which destroyed hundreds of eastern Arizona homes and 
forced 30,000 people to evacuate as it burned 469,000 acres of private, Forest 
Service and Fort Apache Reservation land. 

Gregg, who also was charged with starting a smaller fire, pleaded guilty to two 
federal counts of intentionally setting a fire. He could face up to 10 years in 
prison when he is sentenced in January. 

``He wanted to get it over with, get this behind him, serve his time and make 
his public apologies,'' said Gregg's attorney, Deborah Euler-Ajayi. 

Gregg, of the reservation community of Cibecue, was arrested in June 2002. 
Prosecutors said he started the Rodeo fire to earn $8 an hour fighting it. He 
also has said his parents' alcoholism fueled a rage that led him to start the 

The other half of the Rodeo-Chediski fire was set by a woman who was trying to 
signal a helicopter after she became lost in the wilderness. Federal 
prosecutors declined to charge her. 


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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