NC man sets fires, then gets paid to put them out

Raymond Neal Swayney, 31, of Cherokee, N.C., appeared in federal court in Asheville Monday and plead guilty to intentionally setting fires on Cherokee lands.

Raymond Neal Swayney, 31, of Cherokee, N.C., appeared in federal court in Asheville Monday and plead guilty to intentionally setting fires on Cherokee lands.

A tribal firefighter has pleaded guilty to setting seven fires on Cherokee lands between 2010 and 2014 — fires he was paid to put out, WLOS reported.

Raymond Neal Swayney, 31, of Cherokee, N.C., appeared in federal court in Asheville Monday and pleaded guilty to intentionally setting fires on Cherokee lands, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Swayney was among temporary fireighters hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The firefighters are paid only for the hours they spend putting out fires or doing related maintenance.

According to information contained in filed court documents, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has the authority to hire temporary Administratively Determined (AD) Firefighters for emergencies in progress within the boundaries of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), including to cope with unexpected emergencies caused by fire or extreme fire potential. The hiring of an AD Firefighter is of uncertain, temporary duration.

Once a fire is assigned a fire code, AD firefighters are paid based upon the number of hours they worked in support of that fire code, which includes not only payment for actual firefighting but also post-fire maintenance of equipment, cleaning trucks, etc.

Read more at WLOS.com.