Schoharie County firefighter charged with wearing official gear into fire pit

Thursday, May 23, 2013
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— A volunteer firefighter is facing charges that he intentionally burned firefighting gear in a pit fire at a party earlier this month.

Christopher Botha, 23, of Jefferson, was suspended from the Jefferson Fire Department and charged on Tuesday with third-degree criminal mischief, a felony; and fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, according to a release from the Schoharie County Sheriff's department.

Sheriff Tony Desmond on Thursday said an investigation began not long after an instructor at a training event noticed damage to Botha's turnout gear, which belongs to the fire department.

Desmond said police believe the gear sustained severe burning damage when Botha allegedly wore it into a pit fire at a party May 12.

Botha was released with appearance tickets returnable to Jefferson Town Court June 3.

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