Alex Sean Forth.
A PROBATIONARY Rural Fire Service member who deliberately lit firesat Lochinvar, Keinbah, Bishops Bridge and Sawyers Gully and made numerous hoax calls to emergency services because he was bored and wanted to be called out to battle the blazes has been jailed for twoyears.
Alex Sean Forth, now 21, of Aberglasslyn, appeared in Newcastle District Court on Friday for sentence after pleading guilty to lighting four fires and making a false call to an emergency service number.
“I’d like to say that I’m sorry for what I did,” Mr Forth said from the witness box.
“My actions were unfair, especially to the RFS, the courts, the police and my family.
“And I’m ashamed of what I’ve done.”
When asked by his barrister, John Booth, why he had lit the fires, Forth replied: “stupidity would be my main answer, but principally it was for the call outs.
“Getting onto the RFS truck and going out on it.”
Forth said he “thoroughly enjoyed” working with the RFS and he set the fires so he could extinguish them.
Forth joined the NSW Rural Fire Service in September, 2015, and was attached to the Lochinvar Brigade as a probationary member.
But not long after he joined, there was a “significant spike in suspicious, deliberate or undetermined” bushfires in the area patrolled by the Lochinvar brigade.
Forth used “molotov cocktails” to start two separate fires in the Werakata National Park at Keinbah on April 15, 2016.
A week later he used the same method to start a scrub fire on Old North Road at Lochinvar.
Typically, after lighting a fire, Forthwould call triple-zero to report it and then drive to the station to prepare to head out with the crew.
But Forth began raising suspicion with his superiors.
On one occasion he called another volunteer and told him about a firebefore it was broadcast to members and another time hewas at the station within two minutes of RFS members being notified of a blaze.
Arson Investigators began physical and electronic surveillance of Forth and watched as he lit a fire in roadside scrub at Lochinvar on April 28. He was arrested when he arrived at the Lochinvar RFS station a short time later.
Judge Roy Ellis sentenced Forth to a maxmum of three-and-a-half years jail.
Forth, who has been in custody since his arrest on April 28, 2016, will be eligible for parole in April, 2018.
The Herald, Newcastle