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Volunteer responder, 2 others allegedly set blaze

Kristopher Harger, juveniles face charges after fire in Dallas modular classroom.

KINGSTON TWP. – A volunteer with the Dallas Fire and Ambulance Company and two male juveniles set a fire in a modular classroom at the Dallas High School on July 22 because they were bored, according to arrest records.

Kristopher Harger, 18, of Kingston, was charged with nine counts of criminal conspiracy, three counts of arson and a single count of reckless endangerment. He was arraigned by District Judge James Tupper in Trucksville and released on $25,000 bail.

The two juveniles are facing similar charges in Luzerne County Juvenile Court, police said.

Police said Harger and the juveniles talked for more than a week about setting a fire because they were bored, and Harger wanted “some action,” according to arrest records.

Gasoline and other supplies they used to ignite the fire allegedly came from the Kingston Township ambulance garage, police said.

According to the criminal complaint, Harger drove the juveniles from the fire station to Pear Tree Lane near the high school. The juveniles then walked to the school and tried to throw two gasoline-filled bottles through the library windows, but the fires went out, the complaint said.

Harger picked up the juveniles and went back to the garage, where they got more gasoline, according to the complaint. They then returned to the modular classroom, where, one juvenile told police, they forced open a door and poured gasoline on papers that they set on fire, according to the complaint.

Dallas Township officer Mark Liparela responded to the high school on a report of a fire and spotted Harger walking through a field in the rear of the school just before midnight on July 22. The Dallas ambulance was also at the scene. Liparela noticed smoke and flames coming from a modular classroom and an open rear door.

After firefighters put out the flames, Dallas Fire Chief Harry Vivian and Liparela noticed a rubber medical glove on the ground next to the modular classroom. Harger walked up and stopped near the glove and Vivian told him to leave, according to the criminal complaint.

Police noticed that a library window was smashed and saw two plastic beverage containers filled with suspected gasoline with rags sticking out on the ground nearby.

Liparela was getting ready to collect the rubber glove when, the criminal complaint says, Harger approached him and claimed the glove fell out of Harger’s medical bag.

Police questioned Harger the next day, and he admitted he planned the fire with two juveniles, according to the criminal complaint.

Harger claimed he was at the Dallas fire station and saw one of the juveniles walking out with two bottles with rags sticking out of them. After the fire was set, Harger told police, he called 911, the criminal complaint says.

The two juveniles, in separate interviews with police, said Harger planned the fire and made Molotov cocktails with gasoline at the township ambulance garage.

Vivian couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday.

Harger is tentatively scheduled for a preliminary hearing Aug. 13.

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