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Fallsburg, NY - Fire Chief Arrested For Arson At Skopps Bungalow Colony

Published on: September 4, 2008 01:41 PM
By: Record
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Fallsburg police have charged  Smith, of Fallsburg with burning down this bungalow on Aug. 29 at the intersection of Laurel Avenue and Brickman Road. Photo Credit: THR-MICHELE HASKELLFallsburg, NY - The Fallsburg fire chief has been arrested in connection with the August 29 arson of a bungalow at a Jewish summer camp in Sullivan County.

James Smith, 33, was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of third-degree arson and burglary and second-degree criminal mischief. He was also charged with misdemeanor official misconduct and solicitation.

Authorities suspect that Smith wanted to set the fire so that the fire department could get some training.

He was arraigned and is in the Sullivan County Jail on $25,000 bail.

James Smith is the nephew of Edward Smith, 44, of Fallsburg, who was arrested Tuesday and charged with a hate crime for allegedly drawing racist and anti-Semetic slurs on a road in the Town of Fallsburg.

Edward Smith was also accused of the arson at the Skopps colony, located at the corner of Laural Avenue and Brickman Road.


James and Edward Smith each rented apartments in the caretaker’s bungalow at the colony, that is occupied seasonally by Orthodox Jewish residents.

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Read Comments (27)  —  Post Yours »


 Sep 04, 2008 at 01:51 PM McCain-Palin 08 Says:

wow upstate police fighting curruption


 Sep 04, 2008 at 01:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Was at that fire it was massive. The chief did a great job burning it down.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 01:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Details, please! This sounds crazy! Why did he do it?


 Sep 04, 2008 at 02:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Sof Ganev Letliyah


 Sep 04, 2008 at 02:10 PM Tina Says:

WOW - How did they catch him? was this an insurance job?


 Sep 04, 2008 at 02:14 PM member Says:

which bungalow col. is this?


 Sep 04, 2008 at 02:15 PM member Says:

A very high percentage of Arson is traditionally done by firefighters. Mostly they just look for the action or to become a hero.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 02:21 PM Choizik Says:

Will they also be charged with a hate crime? Was this Anti Semetic based?


 Sep 04, 2008 at 02:23 PM chaimsch Says:

Wow, what a great job of the Fallsburg police, no wonder none of the previous fire investigations were successful it was covered by the fire chief. There were many fires in colonies during past winter which started in bungalows without any gas or electricity.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 02:35 PM Lock & Load Says:

Most arson People are Firefighters.....


 Sep 04, 2008 at 03:32 PM coffe room Says:

what happened to *innocent untill proven guilty*


 Sep 04, 2008 at 03:35 PM skopps Says:

it was at skopps


 Sep 04, 2008 at 03:39 PM WOW!! Says:

Both the uncle And the nefew are being charged for the same Arson? What fools, they shouldve at least waited till all the Jews left!!
Is there one fire over here in question or 2?


 Sep 04, 2008 at 03:59 PM Yankel Turech Says:

They didnt say Havdalah "Boira meoire hoeish" It must be they only drank the wine.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 04:01 PM Anonymous Says:

James Smith. I know him. He was a contractor I used on my bungalow a couple of years ago. Sometimes he didn't show up and wouldn't pick up his cell (I was desperate to get the work done), so I would so to Skopps to find him there because he always hung out there.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 04:02 PM Anonymous Says:

The Fire Chief huh!


 Sep 04, 2008 at 04:39 PM some knowledge Says:

These were abandoned bungalows. He used to take care of maintenance in this colony and then was let go. However, he was still guarding the place over the winter. It could be revenge or perhaps trying to become a hero...


 Sep 04, 2008 at 04:57 PM McCain-Palin 08 Says:

what a sad day for the upstate fallsburg community


 Sep 04, 2008 at 05:20 PM fahrfrumt Says:

I knew the Fallsburg Yeshiva guys were right 7-8 years ago when they voted R' Abba Gorelick in as Fire Treasurer. He wouldn't have let this happen. Ha!


 Sep 04, 2008 at 08:56 PM Anonymous Says:

do u know why we first smell the bisamim by havdalah and then we say borei meorei haesh? because the fire has to smell good, this fire didin't smell good.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 09:16 PM SHAME SHAME Says:

I wonder what spin his Jewish lawyer will put on it.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 10:00 PM Allan Says:

The actions of these two morons is totally inexcusable. They have put their fellow volunteers at risk and I am sure will be shunned in the future by their townfolk. That will be mild punishment if the law really digs into these two fools and they are properly prosecuted. The readers here need to know that many of the volunteers in Sullivan County are Jewish and that all the volunteers are many times not appreciated. The actions of these two idiots should not be a reflection of the dedication that most volunteer firemen have to their communities. There are morons everywhere and in all walks of life and unfortunately, this time it was firemen doing the unthinkable and putting their neighbors and friends in harms way.


 Sep 04, 2008 at 11:21 PM J. Stein Says:

Interesting! If this was done by someone from the Orthodox community the community would have been blamed as a whole. where is Sullivan county's Jewish and non-Jewish tollerence for the orthodox community?I have been coming to Fallsburg for years and all I receive from the locals is dirty looks and nasty comments about THOSE PEOPLE! Us the Orthodox Jews. Just try parking near the Fallsburg Shul during the Summer and you'll see how the local bussiness owners treat you. There are those in our community who do not behave accordingly, but please don't make general statements about us or any other minority. Way to go Fallsburg, your town is all over the Jewish media.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 11:10 AM Avrohom Abba Says:

This is an embarrassment to all the wonderful, sweet. good and honest firefighters who would never do this (assuming they are found guilty).
Their computers should be inspected for probable hate group affiliations.


 Sep 05, 2008 at 12:40 PM Sullivan Insider Says:

Some corrections need to be made here.

The local fire departments do not investigate the fires. Although state law charges the fire chief to determine the cause of fire, the County Fire Determiners (Investigators) typically investigate 99% of all structure fires in the county. Police are not called to such scenes unless a criminal act is determined.

"A very high percentage of Arson is traditionally done by firefighters. Mostly they just look for the action or to become a hero."

That is also incorrect. Although there are firefighters who have done this, it is very low compared to the general population. You can research this futher with the FBI UCR's which are pubished annually.

It is (sadly) VERY typical that bungelow colonies go up in flames each spring and fall. Usually they are the ones in disrepair or in serious code violations. Unfortunately, many fingers point back to the owners of these properties but there is usually not enough evidence to bring them to a grand jury.


 Oct 29, 2008 at 02:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Lock & Load Says:

Most arson People are Firefighters.....

No they are not.Get your facts straight.


 Oct 29, 2008 at 02:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Details, please! This sounds crazy! Why did he do it?

He said,"the guys needed training",I am from a neighboring town's FD,and I DO NOT think this guy should "walk".Send him to prison for a very long time.


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