Florida Teen Sets Library on Fire So He Could Help Firefighters Put It Out

When a Brooksville library suddenly went up in flames back on July 6, firefighters were quickly on the scene. Once there, the found a pile of wicker chairs stacked on top of one another on fire and put up against the back door.

They also found 18-year-old Joseph M. Brannen standing in his firefighting gear. When they asked him what he was doing there and why he was dressed like a firefighter, Brannen told them that he heard the call on the scanner and got dressed and that he really, really wants to be a real-life firefighter one day.

He was there to help.

Oh, and, also, he's the one who started the fire.

According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, Brannen confessed to starting the fire when they interviewed him last Friday.

Apparently, Brannen got into the reading room at the library located on 6457 Windmere Road in Ridge Manor West through a screen.

He then set the place on fire so he could then eventually help the firefighters put it out once they got there.

Kind of like the plot from The Incredibles!

And a quick scan through his Facebook reveals that he is pretty serious about this whole wanting-to-be-a-firefighter business.

Brannen has deleted the photos of himself in firefighter gear since his arrest.

But, because the internet never forgets, the photos still exist:

He had also claimed on his Facebook page that he worked for the Hillsborough Fire and Rescue Department. When cops confronted him on this, Brannen told them he didn't really work there but wanted to some day. It was more like a preemptive Facebook employment status.

Brannen, who was charged with second-degree arson, had also previously pleaded no contest to a charge of petty theft in 2008, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Hillsborough County now will have to pay thousands of dollars to repair the damage to the library, which will remain closed for several months.

By the way, the firefighters did not let him help put out the library fire, which is a bummer.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph