The man is suspected of setting cars and containers alight near the local fire station, before rushing over to join his colleagues, change into uniform, and help fight back the flames.
“It feels very disappointing. We trusted him,” brigade manager Tomas Wrådhe told Expressen.
The 22-year-old man from the town of Upplands Bro, north of Stockholm, had worked with the fire brigade on a part-time basis since 2003.
“He was aiming to become a full-time fireman,” said Wrådhe.
And what better way to impress your peers than putting out a spate of fires?
But there may have been another motive. On top of the standard wage, part-time firemen also receive a bonus for each additional call-out.
In 2004 local fire fighters grew suspicious at the number of conflagrations occurring in the vicinity of one of their stations. Also curious was the fact that the incidents always seemed to occur between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.
“We were soon able to see that most of the fires started when his group was working,” deputy brigade manager Jens Ärlebrant told Expressen.
Around Christmastime last year police began keeping a very close eye on the suspect. And at the end of August this year the man finally blazed a trail that led right to his feet.
When a series of cars caught fire in a car park near the fire station, the 22-year-old was quickly on hand to put them out. The following day he was arrested for arson and soon admitted to having started several other unexplained fires.
The man’s workmates, who rated him highly, were said to be shocked to hear that he was the subject of a police investigation.