Cumberland Times-News

July 30, 2013

Midland firefighter rescued from burning residence charged with arson in blaze

Bond for 24-year-old volunteer set at $150,000

Cumberland Times-News

— MIDLAND — The Midland volunteer firefighter who was found unconscious in his burning home last week has been charged with intentionally setting the fire by the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Deputy state fire marshals and their K-9 team who investigated the July 22 fire at 19821 Big Lane Avenue found multiple areas inside the home where a liquid accelerant was poured and subsequently ignited.

Denzil F. Halbritter Jr., 24, was charged with first-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning and three counts of reckless endangerment upon his release from the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.

Halbritter was held in the Allegany County Detention Center on $150,000 bond.

Fellow firefighters rescued Halbritter when he was found lying unconscious on the kitchen floor at 1:20 a.m. He was hospitalized with smoke inhalation injuries and listed in critical condition later that morning.

Approximately 60 firefighters from Allegany, Garrett and Mineral County volunteer fire departments controlled the blaze within 20 minutes. Damage estimates from the fire were $50,000.

The fire was reported to the Allegany County 911 Center by Halbritter’s father. Officials said the victim had called his father to inform him that their residence was on fire.