Central Islip Volunteer Firefighters Charged With Arson: Austin Lehman, Stephen Hernandez, Shawn Key

Suffolk County Police

3 Central Islip Volunteer Firefighters Accused Of Setting Abandoned Homes On Fire

March 13, 2018 - 4:11 pm

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Three volunteer firefighters were charged Tuesday with setting fire to abandoned homes in Central Islip and Hauppauge.

Following an investigation by Suffolk County police arson detectives along with the Central Islip Fire Department, volunteer firefighters Austin Lehman, Stephen Hernandez, and Shawn Key were arrested on charges that they set the fires between October and January.

The three men are all volunteer firefighters with the Central Islip Fire Department.

They were charged with setting the fires at:

  • 82 Gates Ave. in Central Islip on October 21 at approximately 6 a.m.
  • 104 Vanderbilt Ave. in Central Islip on October 24 at approximately 5:20 a.m.
  • 173 Gibbs Rd. in Central Islip on November 7 at approximately 5:50 a.m.
  • 43 Oakdale Ave. in Central Islip on November 22 at approximately 2:20 a.m. 
  • 475 Bridge Rd. in Hauppauge on January 14 at approximately 3:40 a.m.

“The houses were destroyed, and there was a loss involved with the fires,” said Suffolk County police Commissioner Stuart Cameron.

No one was injured in any of the fires, police said. But police said someone easily could have been.

“There was a great potential for injuries with all of these fires, both to civilians and to members of the volunteer fire service,” said Cameron, who noted that responding to a structure fire is “very dangerous.”

Hernandez, 25, and Lehman, 19 – both of Central Islip – were charged with five counts of third-degree arson in connection with all five fires. Key, 27, of North Babylon, were all charged with third-degree arson in the Nov. 22 fire.

The three were arraigned in Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip on Tuesday.