Former Firefighters Sentenced for Setting Fires

DANVILLE — Charles Jacobs and Zane Snyder are former volunteer firefighters who admitted to setting a string of arsons near Danville earlier this year.

Zane Snyder was sentenced to five to 17 years in jail. Charles Jacobs was given seven to 18 years.

Chief Larry Brown is from Liberty Township Fire Company, which responded to all of the arsons. He believes the sentence should have been higher.

“The D.A. did as good a job as she could do, and I’m sure the judge followed all the guidelines, but I was hoping for more. I think everyone was hoping for more,” Brown said.

Chief Brown said at least 100 firefighters responded to each of the calls. Luckily no one was hurt, but the Chief said it is unsettling because their lives were put at risk each time.

“They could have run off the road, been hit, or something could have happened that the fire collapsed on them or trapped in the fire or anything. It could have been death,” Brown said.

The damage from a fire near Danville can still be seen seven months later. Brown said a fire truck was damaged during one of the calls.

“We had a tanker truck slide off the road due to the icy road conditions and snow. some $20,000 worth of damage that wouldn’t have had to happen if they wouldn’t have been there,” Brown said.

Snyder and Jacobs both apologized to their victims in court.

Snyder said, “I’d like to apologize to the victims. I was a volunteer firefighter and I shouldn’t have done what I did. “

Snyder and Jacobs were members of the Potts Grove Fire Company. The department’s deputy chief was at today’s sentencing and told us, “Nothing will ever completely erase the hurt feelings, suffering and disruption to these people`s lives. It is our wish that these victims know that the fire company is sharing in their pain. “

Both Snyder and Jacobs are scheduled to appear in Northumberland County court next month to face similar charges for arsons in that county.

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