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Volunteer fireman pleads guilty to arson

March 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

ASBURY PARK, N.J., March 23 (UPI) -- A volunteer New Jersey firefighter has pleaded guilty to setting a string of fires in two counties that consumed 540 acres and injured two firefighters.

Ryan A. Dellane, 19, of the Stafford Volunteer Fire Company, faces up to 20 years in prison on nine counts of aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated assault, the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press reported Wednesday.

Dellane told Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels that he intentionally set a series of fires in wooded areas and in homes under construction between March and August of 2010.

One of the fires he started destroyed 540 acres of pine and brush and forced the evacuation of 75 people from nearby homes before hundreds of firefighters were able to contain it.

Assistant Ocean Country Prosecutor Michel A. Paulhus said Tuesday he will ask Judge Daniels to give Dellane a 20-year term when he is sentenced June 2.

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