WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A man who admitted setting fire to houses while he was a volunteer firefighter was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison.
Trent Bronner, 24, of Sleepy Hollow, had pleaded guilty to second- and fourth-degree arson, admitting he set fires in 2010 and 2011.
The 2011 blaze destroyed two Sleepy Hollow homes and left 19 people homeless. Police said Bronner helped put it out. He was a longtime resident of Sleepy Hollow and the volunteer fire department's website listed him as responding to the most fire calls from April 2010 to March 2011.
Prosecutors said the fire was discovered only when a barking dog woke up a neighbor at about 5 a.m. She spotted the flames and alerted residents as the blaze spread to a second house.
The Westchester County district attorney's office said one home was condemned because of the fire damage and the owners of the other are attempting to rebuild.
Investigators determined that the fire was intentionally set under the porch and Bronner was among those questioned. He admitted setting the blaze — and another in 2010 — and was arrested.
Some of the people who lost their homes attended Bronner's court sessions. His lawyer originally argued that the confessions were improperly obtained by a detective, but Bronner pleaded guilty to the arson charges in May.
He could have been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison if convicted at trial.