Paroled Arsonist Served As Volunteer Firefighter

A volunteer who fought San Diego County's recent wildfires has a secret: He's a convicted arsonist.

Steven Robles is now back in prison for failing to tell his parole officer that he'd been working with the Ranchita Volunteer Fire Department.

The 30-year-old Robles was working as a firefighter volunteer before his conviction a decade ago for setting seven blazes in North County that burned a dozen homes.

Robles was paroled in May. Last month, he was accepted for the Ranchita Department and was on the front lines in battling wildfires that devastated the county.

Two weeks after he came aboard, Robles was discovered by a state
fire investigator who recognized him while having dinner at a fire station.

His probation violation sent him back to prison to serve out more of his term.

Ranchita Fire Chief Gary Loyd says he never had a reason to question Robles about his past, adding: "The guy was out there saving lives and houses. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't supposed to be."

Authorities say Robles is not suspected of setting of the recent fires.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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