Monday, January 10, 2011

Stop... Drop... and Party!

A veteran Apopka firefighter resigned recently after he was charged with lighting his co-worker on fire during a Christmas party last month.

Jason Leblanc, 44, is charged with arson and arson resulting in the injury of another, said Apopka police spokesman Officer Steve Popp. Leblanc has been a firefighter for eight years.

Leblanc and the victim, 25-year-old Jack Shumate, were at a Christmas party at a location on S. Binion Road on Dec. 18 with several others when Shumate was burned.

The party was not a gathering organized by the city, Popp said.

The fire occurred around midnight when Leblanc allegedly poured lighter fluid on Shumate's legs and lit him on fire, Popp said.

Shumate was transported to Florida Hospital Apopka with second-degree burns on his legs. He has been unable to work since the fire.

It's unclear if either of the firefighters was drinking at the party, but alcohol was available, Popp said.

Shumate, who has been with the department for one year, declined to press charges against Leblanc.

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