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Arson suspect is former firefighter

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UNDATED (WSAU)  A man accused of setting a number of fires in northeast Wisconsin used to volunteer to put out those blazes. The Green Bay Press-Gazette says 28-year-old Drew Christensen spent six years on the Brazeau Fire Department, until he was released 18 months ago for missing departmental meetings due to his job.

Brazeau Fire Chief John Fetterly said Christensen did not do anything wrong when he served – and he left the department on good terms. On Monday Christensen was charged with two counts of arson for allegedly starting a garage and a mobile home on fire since last August. Prosecutors said he admitted setting a half-dozen blazes – including one that heavily damaged the Klondike Community Church in March. Officials say charges in that blaze and others are pending, and state Justice investigators are trying to determine if Christensen had anything to do with over three dozen other fires in Oconto and other nearby counties in recent years. Fetterly said he was relieved at first that an arrest was made in some of the blazes – but he later got angry, knowing that a former firefighter could jeopardize lives and put stress on fire suppression efforts. Oconto County Sheriff Mike Jansen said fire-fighters have been known to start blazes.

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