'I am not an arsonist,' man accused of starting fire during burn ban says

Suspect was burning mattress in wooded area, police say

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor
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CASSELBERRY, Fla. - A man is accused of starting a fire in a wooded area during a burn ban, then spreading the flames while trying to extinguish them, according to the Casselberry Police Department.

An officer who was in the area of Wilshire Boulevard and State Road 436 Wednesday night noticed a plume of smoke coming from a piece of private property owned by the city. The area is surrounded by a metal fence and "No trespassing" signs. 

When the officer went to the wooded area to investigate, he found Edward Geib, 26, slapping a blanket on the flames, according to an arrest report. The officer repeatedly told Gieb to stop because he was spreading the fire.

Gieb wouldn't listen to the commands, so the officer had to push him out of the way so he could use a fire extinguisher on the flames, police said. Once the flames were out, the officer saw that a mattress had been set on fire.

Police said Geib smelled of alcohol and slurred his words as he repeatedly yelled "I am not an arsonist." He tensed up as officers tried to cuff him and kicked the windows after he was placed in the back seat of the patrol car, according to the arrest report.

Geib is charged with resisting an officer with violence, burning during emergency drought conditions and trespassing.

A burn ban has been issued for Seminole County and most of the Central Florida region as dry conditions persist.


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