(NewsReady.com) – It’s hard to imagine that anyone would purposely try to put first responders in harm’s way as they’re trying to save lives, but that’s just what may have happened in the case of a former college professor. Gary Maynard, 47, has been apprehended on charges of arson based on indictments from a federal grand jury. Maynard was allegedly involved in trying to trap firefighters in the second biggest wildfire in California, known as the Dixie Fire.
During one of the worst fire seasons in California's recorded history, former criminology professor Gary Maynard allegedly set a series of fires in Northern California near where firefighters were battling the massive Dixie Fire. https://t.co/1SGujigKOn
— NewsWatch 12 (@KDRV) November 19, 2021
Maynard was apparently using his vehicle for a home, and a tool to help him start fires. Unlike those that initiate original blazes, Maynard may have taken things one step further. His alleged technique was to come behind firefighters and block off their exit from the flames they were trying to douse by creating more fire behind them. He could face two decades in jail on top of a $250,000 fine per charge.
After helping Maynard get his car out of a bizarre situation where he was stuck on a boulder, authorities installed a tracking device on the suspect’s vehicle and were able to note the correlation between his location and the new fires. Further evidence comes in the form of tire tracks that match the detainee’s vehicle.
Though it may look like chaos to those of us not battling infernos, firefighters use specific strategies to douse and cut off fires. Their plan always involves some sort of exit strategy. When someone comes along and sabotages that exit, they put every firefighter’s life in danger. Maynard could have potentially faced attempted murder charges because of his methods of trapping the first responders between the original fire and the one he created. Instead, he faces four charges of arson.
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