State police have arrested two volunteer firefighters accused of setting a large brush fire at a state forest in Torrington that ignited 14 acres of land on Wednesday afternoon.
Vincenzo Michael Marino, 21, and David Gregory Korot, 19, both of Torrington and volunteers with the Drakesville Volunteer Fire Department, are accused of setting two brush fires at Paugnut State Forest on Wednesday.
The brush fires were reported at 12:27 p.m. and the Torrington Fire Department, Drakeville Fire Department, Burrville fire Department, Torrington Police Department, Connecticut Wildland Fire Forestry Division and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded and were at the scene through the night, according to state police.
“People trust us to go in their homes every night and every day and expect us to treat their property with respect, not treat it the way it was treated yesterday,” Torrington Fire Chief Gary Brunoli said.
In an interview with NBC Connecticut, Marino apologized, but did not admit to setting the fire. He says Korot was in his car while he was driving through Paugnut State Forest Wednesday and told him to pull over so he could start a fire.
“It wasn’t worth it,” Marino said. “I was just not thinking and decided to stop my car. It was the worst mistake of my life.”
Korot had no comment on the case. Both are accused of intentionally setting the fire.
Marino was charged with 53 counts of kindling fire in the open without authorization and breach of piece and Korot was charged with one count each of kindling fire in the open without authorization and breach of piece.
“If I could take it back I would. I didn’t mean any harm for anybody,” Marino said.
Bond for both was set at $5,000. They are due in court March 28.