Lake County Volunteer Firefighter Arrested for Setting Wildfires

A twenty year old volunteer firefighter arrested for setting two wildfires in Lake County.

Crafard MugThe fires were found by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wednesday afternoon near Idlewild.

No damage was done to any structures but the suspect arrested, Frederick Crafard, was on the scene for both fires when crews arrived. He was charged Friday afternoon.

Crafard faces two fourth degree arson charges and a charge for possession of illegal drugs.

Neither wildfire was very big, one was just about the size of a car and the other one was under an acre, but they were found quickly. If the DNR hadn’t been in the area to contain them, they could’ve spread.

“Leaves are getting dry, all the other stuff is dry, wind blowing,” said Chad Hurrle, chief deputy with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, “Things like that, the impact could be huge.”

Police say he was found on the scene of a wildfire near Queens Highway and 80th. Just a few hours later and a few miles away at Spruce and 80th, another wildfire broke out.

“This man happened to be the first on the scene at that fire as well,” said Hurrle.

While saying he was a volunteer firefighter with Yates Township, Crafard said he was there to help. Police immediately found it suspicious.

“While interviewing,” said Hurrle, “That gentleman ended up confessing to setting both of those fires.”

While police don’t say these were accidents, and were purposefully set, they do say to be careful while cleaning up your property this spring. This time of year, things are dry things, it is windy and before things green up, they can get out-of-control quickly.