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Deputy Fire Chief Arrested for Arson and Theft

A former Compton Deputy fire chief was arrested wednesday for arson and grand theft. Marcel Melanson, 37, of Torrance, California was arrested for allegedly steeling thousands of dollars worth of radios for the purpose of selling them for personal gain and then starting a fire to try and destroy the evidence of the crime.

Melanson allegedly started a fire back in December of 2011 at the headquarters of the Compton Fire Department. Yes, you guessed my next question: Why did it take this long to figure out what was going on?

Answer: Not sure. The Compton Fire Department asked for the assistance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and other agencies to investigate the unusual fire at Compton Fire Headquarters. Long Beach Fire Department and Montebello Fire Department arson investigators also assisted in the investigation.

I'm just glad they were able to put the fire out faster than they were able to conclude their criminal investigation and make an arrest.

Melanson was in custody Wednesday with his bail set at $250,000. He was a member of the Compton City Fire Department for 15 years and was said to have been terminated about a year ago. If convicted he could face prison, restitution and registration as an arson offender.

For more information about arson, theft or any other criminal law matter, call me:

Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or email me at: or visit my sites:

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Law Office of Jeffrey S. Vallens - San Fernando Valley Criminal Defense Attorney
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