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Texas volunteer firefighter charged with arson and starting fire

David Matthew Neet, a volunteer firefighter and ambulance worker, has been arrested on suspicion of starting numerous fires in the region.

The 44-year-old was arrested on July 5 by Brewster County Sheriff’s officers in connection with a series of wildfires that occurred from 2023 to 2024. An initial investigation by the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office indicated a suspicious origin for the fires, which led to the involvement of investigators from Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement.

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Neet is currently being held in the Brewster County Detention Center on $300,000 bail. He has been charged with 20 counts of arson under Texas Penal Code Section 28.02, Arson F2.

Courtesy of Brewster County Sheriff’s Office via Facebook

“We investigate wildland arson incidents and work to bring those responsible to justice,” said Jarred Lemmon, deputy chief of law enforcement for the Texas A&M Forest Service. “The success of this case would not have been possible without the diligent efforts of Brewster County Sheriff’s Deputy Holquin.”

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The Texas A&M Forest Service is responsible for enforcing forest and woodland conservation laws and prosecuting violators. Arson is considered a felony in the Texas State Prison, punishable by up to two years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Since Jan. 1, 2024, Texas A&M Forest Service officers have responded to 70 wildfire investigations and 48 timber theft complaints, illustrating the challenges the state faces in combating wildlife crimes.