Firefighting…the Fires that YOU Set?

DeShawn Smith, Staff Reporter

A Canadian firefighter, Lawson Michael Schalm, and his fellow co-workers were fighting a fire set on a railway trestle bridge northwest of Edmonton on April 26, 2016, in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, Canada. But now Schalm has been charged with setting this fire and others he started around his community.

The RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said that Lawson Michael Schalm, 19 years old, is facing 18 counts of arson.

IRHS Senior Juan Garcia said, “This is cruel and crazy. That man should be taken off the streets. He deserves to be locked up. Luckily no one got hurt.”

According to Randy Schroeder, the chief of the town’s fire department, Schalm’s father is a former mayor of Mayerthorpe, and Schalm was 15 when he joined the department as a junior member.  

When he turned 18, he became a full member.

Schalm made his first court appearance on Wednesday, May 4th, in Stony Plain Provincial Court for the arson allegations.

Schroeder confirmed that Schalm was one of the firefighters who was fighting the flames on the bridge. There was a school and 38 mobile homes close to the bridge that had to be evacuated to avoid anyone getting hurt in this unruly event, according to MSN.

Schroeder also said, “The entire department is shocked and in disbelief right now regarding the situation. It’s almost grief-like symptoms at this point.”

To battle the conflagration, water bombers were sent out and the area of Mayerthorpe and surrounding areas sent out fire crews.  

Luckily no one was injured throughout the fires, which began on April 19.

Kate Patrick, the mayor of Mayerthorpe, was happy that the arrest was made, but seemmed depressed because the person who caused the flames was a well known figure in the community.

She said,”The community is saddened to hear about the arrest but are happy to know it’s been successfully completed.”  

According to CTV News Edmonton, Lawson Schalm’s father, ex-mayor, said that he didn’t find out about his son’s charges until he saw it on social media. He had the following to say about the incident. “He’s a good kid, wherever this ends up Lawson will always have a place at my table, he is my son and I love him deeply. Lawson is going to grow from this, we’re going to be stronger as a community and as a family.”

The town of Mayerthorpe is actually the site of the horrific (and rare) shooting deaths of four RCMP officers in 2005 when a farmer opened fire.

There is a wildfire currently raging in Fort McMurray, Alberta, a few hours northwest, which has destroyed over 1600 homes and  forced the evacuation of nearly 88,000 residents.