Firefighter Gets Jail Time For Starting Blaze At Own Station
Marcel Dione Melanson has worn many hats: he was a former Compton fire battalion chief, a reality TV star on a show about firefighters...and an arsonist.
He was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in state prison on Monday for embezzlement and arson, according to the L.A. District Attorney's Office. Melanson, 38, pleaded no contest in April for setting fire to the Compton Fire Station to cover up the fact that he had stolen expensive radios from his headquarters and sold them on Ebay.
Investigators discovered that the 17-year firefighter vet started a blaze on Dec. 11, 2011 at a racquetball court inside the Compton Fire Station headquarters that had $1 million worth of radios inside, according to the L.A. Times. The fire greatly damaged the building.
After digging deeper, they found that Melanson was the only person on duty at the time who had access to the radios. The L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. discovered that he had been selling the radios to private buyers on eBay since 2008, and set the fire to cover up the fact that the radios had gone missing.
Melanson is ordered to register himself as an arson offender for life. He paid $100,000 in restitution to the city of Compton and his victims, and has to pay an additional $417,477 to the city of Compton.