Two former firefighters arrested in connection with Cairo arsons

Friday, July 1, 2011
Richard Scott Pitcher

ULLIN, Ill. -- Illinois State Police arrested two men Thursday linked to arsons in Cairo, Ill.

Richard Scott Pitcher, 18, of Cairo, and David Patrick, 22, of Arlington, Ky., have both been charged with two counts of arson.

Pitcher and Patrick were members of the Cairo Auxiliary Fire Department, which is not the same entity as the city's fire department. The two men are being held in the Tri-County Detention Center at Ullin.

David Patrick

"We do work with them. We've called them in to assist us, yes," said Cairo Fire Department chief John Meyer. "But they're not part of the city at all. They're private."

Meyer wouldn't discuss the case any further Thursday but said he hopes justice will be served.

"It's been a long, hard investigation," he said.

Bob Simpson, chief of the Cairo Auxiliary Fire Department, said Thursday he had no comment.

According to the Alexander County circuit clerk's office, court documents allege the men are responsible for fires on 33rd Street in Cairo and others near the Mississippi River levee in January.

Assisting with the investigation were the Cairo Police Department, Cairo Fire Department, Alexander County Sheriff's Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal.

In the last month, the Illinois State Police was asked to assist Cairo authorities in solving the more than 40 arson cases that have remained open since 2007.

From September 2007 through March 2011, Cairo fire officials, with the arson division of the state's fire marshal office, have investigated 59 fires; 48 have been determined to be arson.

Authorities have issued an arrest warrant on two counts of arson for Shane Harma, a man they say is responsible for a handful of fires on Pine and 22nd streets in 2008. However, the warrant is still outstanding because Harma is serving time in Montana for similar crimes.

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

Ullin, IL

Cairo, IL

Map of pertinent addresses

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