A 41-year-old upstate New York firefighter has some serious explaining to do.
When Jason Stokes' home caught fire back in August, Endicott Fire Chief Joseph Griswold says it didn't take much of an investigation to determine that Stokes himself was the possible culprit. "We knew fairly soon into the investigation that he was a suspect, but that's not uncommon in any fire," Griswold told Time Warner Cable News. "You always have to look at the people who live there."
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A relative of Stokes, who had been a member of the Endicott Fire Department since 2005, initially told WBNG News that they believed the family was being targeted because of the pro-police 'Blue Lives Matter' flag that hung in front of the house. A message that read "lie with pigs, fry like bacon" was also found on the home at the time of the fire, but a police investigation soon determined that Stokes was ultimately responsible for it all.
Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell told WBNG that Stokes was the one who wrote the message and is now believed to be behind the fire, which was set while Stokes and four of his family members were in the home. Luckily, everyone escaped the blaze unharmed.
Stokes has since been charged with second-degree arson, is being held in Broome County jail, and could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.