Wash. firefighter accused of stealing from burned out business

Wash. firefighter accused of stealing from burned out business
EVERETT, Wash. -- An Everett firefighter is off the job and under investigation for allegedly trying to sell antiques from a store that recently burned down.

Now the owner of that shop wonders if the firefighter helped himself to her merchandise.

More than a life was lost during a deadly fire last year in Everett. Some of the merchandise trapped inside the charred rubble has been showing up for sale on Craigslist, and the city is trying to determine if one of its own firefighters is to blame.

The merchant whose items are showing up for sale doesn't want to be identified for fear of retaliation.

"It's devastating that we couldn't claim our own items and that some people were," she said.

The woman learned that police found some of her antiques inside the home of one of the firefighters who battled the blaze at her business.

"Come to find out a fireman has the stolen property and is selling it on Craigslist. It's terrible," she said.

The burned out building was so unstable that vendors were never allowed back inside to salvage their property. More than $100,000 in merchandise was thought to be lost until a vendor noticed her brass lamp and gold night stand for sale online.

Police told her to meet with the seller while officers waited outside.

"He says that he purchased the items and that if we wanted them back, we'd have to pay for them," the vendor said.

Police stepped in at that point and city leaders have since launched their own investigation.

"We have placed a firefighter on administrative leave following an allegation that he was in possession of items that allegedly were improperly removed from a fire scene," said the city's Kate Reardon.

Officials say paid leave is standard in these cases and should not be considered disciplinary action.

KOMO is not naming the firefighter because he has yet to be arrested or charged with a crime.