In the small town of Inakadate, Aomori Prefecture, Shota Kawasaki was both employed at a straw-crafts workshop and a member of his local volunteer fire department. However, this village of 8,000 people was far more famous for its rice paddy art than fires breaking out, and while making straw art is charming in its own way, it can get to be a drag day in and day out.
That’s why Aomori prefectural police are suspecting Kawasaki of starting a series of fires over the past six months; so that he could allegedly feel the rush of putting them out.
At about 4:30 a.m. on Nov 13, some people noticed smoke coming from a warehouse in Kuroishi City and dialed 119. The local volunteer fire department was assembled and rushed to the scene. Among them was the 32-year-old Kawasaki who lived only 300 meters from the warehouse and reportedly had a reputation of “enthusiastically rushing in to fight fires.”
Although there was some damage to the roof of the warehouse, the firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze without incident. Immediately afterward, Aomori police began an arson investigation and checked some surveillance cameras that they had installed at some point since suspicious fires had started occurring last May.
On the footage they could see a man whom they believe fit Kawasaki’s description piling flammable material such as cardboard on the floor of the warehouse. About 15 minutes before the original 119 call was placed, the man in the video started the fire. Seeing Kawasaki as the prime suspect they made their arrest on Nov 14.
Residents of the village were shocked both by the irony of a firefighter being arrested for starting fires, and by the fact that Kawasaki was widely regarded as a polite and valued member of his community. In a press conference a rep from the fire department bit his lip and said the only word he had to describe what happened was “unbelievable.”
Source: Yomiuri Online
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