| Humor |

Florida Teen Sets Half-Million-Dollar Fire So He Can Pretend to Be a Firefighter

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

It's not easy becoming a firefighter, but there's a fairly established path to take if that's your dream: starting intense workouts, studying up on fire codes, maybe getting some sweet tribal tattoos to fit in.

Police say an 18-year-old from Florida went a different route, by buying a bunch of firefighting gear on eBay, setting a massive fire at his local library , and then showing up at the scene to help put out the blaze.

The flames tore through the East Hernando Branch Library in Brooksville, Florida, on July 6, eventually causing more than $500,000 in damage to the building.

When firefighters rolled up to the library, they were surprised to find 18-year-old Joseph Michael Brannen there in bunker gear, the duds firefighters use at active fires. Brannen told them he'd bought the gear on eBay because he wanted to be a volunteer firefighter and that he'd showed up at the library after hearing about the blaze on the scanner.

Police were suspicious of the story, though, and they brought Brannen in for questioning last week. After grilling the teen, the cops say, he finally admitted he'd snuck into the library and set the fire himself so he could jump in with the real firefighters.

Instead of a gig at the firehouse, the teen now faces felony arson charges.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.