Taken from the local newspaper The Westerly Sun
NEW LONDON — Court documents were unsealed on William A. Celtruda, 23, the alleged arsonist who torched Mystic homes on Library Street, Gull Lane and West Mystic Avenue over the course of several weeks last summer. Nobody was injured in the incidents.
Celtruda was charged in August 2008 with first-degree arson, burglary and criminal mischief and was removed as a probationary volunteer member of the Mystic Fire Department.
According to the police report, Mystic volunteer firefighter Kyle Hilbert and Celtruda had been drinking beer in the fire station for several hours on the night of the Library Street blaze. Two other firefighters joined the discussion about some of the “old fires,” then went to the bunk room to sleep. Hilbert and Celtruda continued to drink until about 2 a.m., when they broke a plastic table.
The two decided to take the broken table outside and ignite the table parts using acetone, cleaning solvents and a cigarette lighter. The table fire lasted until 3:30 a.m., when the two threw the burned parts into a dumpster. They then tried to return to the bunk room to sleep, but woke up the other firefighters, who would not allow Celtruda into the bunk room, and he left.
Hilbert told police the next thing he knew he was being wakened for the alarm at 23 Library St. In mid-August, Celtruda confessed to setting the July fire, saying he was teased about not fighting a “real” fire and decided he would “prove himself” to the other firefighters.
Celtruda underwent psychiatric evaluations in October and November, and final reports were to be filed last week.
The Gull Lane and West Mystic Avenue homes were set aflame an hour apart on Aug. 12, 2008. Papers with Celtruda’s name on them were found at the Gull Lane home, which was occupied at the time of the fire. The Library Street dwelling was unoccupied and without electrical service at the time of the July 2008 fire.
Celtruda told police that he knew the Library Street house was unoccupied when he left the firehouse. He said he stuffed paper towels inside a rolled up carpet that was on the large front porch and lit it with a cigarette lighter.
Celtruda told police he returned to the Mystic Fire Department to await the emergency call. Hilbert and Celtruda arrived at the scene in the same fire engine.
Celtruda is also charged with threatening his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, Sgt. James Dimmock of the Waterford Police Department. He is accused of scratching “DEAD” in foothigh letters on two places in the paint of Dimmock’s truck while it was parked in Dimmock’s driveway.
The ex-girfriend, Sherry Parker, told police that Celtruda threatened to shoot Dimmock and that “Celtruda drinks and becomes violent.”
Celtruda has pled not guilty to charges of seconddegree threatening and harassment. The Library Street homeowners, Gretchen and Inge Chipperini and Ultegra LLC, have filed a notice of intention to sue Mystic Fire Chief Fritz Hilbert, Celtruda, the Mystic Fire Dept., Town of Groton and Town of Stonington. The plaintiffs claim $3.5 million in damages.
Frustrating when we see another of our own who turn to torching. People wonder why firefighters globally get bad PR with more stories like this released. In my eyes the word alleged becomes a null point when there is an admission and case facts privy to only the investigators and arsonist come out.