A Volunteer Firefighter Set a House on Fire Because He Wanted to Respond to a Fire

In a testament to the overwhelming power of boredom, a volunteer firefighter allegedly started a fire on Monday so that he could put it out himself.

To make matters stranger, Patrick Gillis, an 18-year-old from Brackenridge, just outside Pittsburgh, used to live in the duplex he set fire to. Witnesses saw him in the area around the time of the fire started, and then saw him back there putting it out. Gillis eventually admitted to placing a lighter and some paper in a microwave in the kitchen, turning it on, and leaving. His explanation was that he wanted to respond to fire. The duplex was for sale and unoccupied and, thankfully, no injuries were reported. 

It's also possible that he's done this before. Pittsburgh's Action News 4 reports that other volunteer firefighters voiced their suspicions about him to the Allegheny County fire marshal's office months ago after there were several trashcan fires around Gillis' home, and 911 records showed that one of the fires was reported from his cell phone. 

"He [Gillis] more or less felt bad, wanted to apologize to me for putting us through what he did," Chief Rick Jones of the Pioneer Hose Company told Action News 4. "You know, I think he feels remorse already. As I said, I told him listen to what these guys tell you and let's get some help. That's the biggest concern."

This is definitely worrying from the fire department, but maybe the Postal Service could learn something and start mailing letters like crazy?

h/t New York Post, Action News 4

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James Chrisman is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @james_chrisman2.