Volunteer Firefighter Accused Of Starting Seven NSW Bushfires
A 19-year-old volunteer with the Rural Fire Service in southern NSW has been charged after he allegedly lit multiple fires and then returned to help fight them.
NSW Police allege a teenage boy was spotted sitting in a taxi while smoke bellowed out from a pile of trees and grass nearby during a bushfire on Tuesday.
It's believed the teen lit the fire and later returned to respond to the incident as a volunteer.
Police arrested the 19-year-old at a fire shed in Tarraganda, near Bega, within two hours of the fire being lit.
They've also seized his vehicle for forensic examination.
The teenager has since been charged with causing seven fires and allegedly recklessly allowing them to spread in the Bega Valley area since November 17.
The accused was granted strict conditional bail to face Bega Local Court on Wednesday.
The RFS said it had immediately stood down the 19-year-old volunteer and had a "zero tolerance" approach to arson.
"Our members will be rightly angry that the alleged actions of one individual can tarnish the reputation and hard work of so many," RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said in a statement.
"This type of alleged behaviour is the ultimate betrayal of our own members, and of the broader community."
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