Firefighter with pending arson charges crashes while responding to fire, gets DWI

Firefighter Close Calls regularly sends out news about incidents that affect firefighters. Yesterday’s message described three that were rather bizarre.

  • Two firefighters in North Carolina were responding to a fire in their own vehicles at 2:30 a.m. when one of them ran off the road and crashed. Both were charged with Driving While Intoxicated. They were both already scheduled to appear in court in January to face multiple unrelated counts of arson, and now will also have court appearances in January to face the DWI charges. One of them is in line to become Chief of his department in January.
  • A fire apparatus in North Carolina rolled over while returning from a parade.
  • A Paramedic holding onto a utility vehicle while riding a bicycle to an emergency call was pulled under the vehicle and killed in the Line of Duty.

Here are the details from Firefighter Close Calls:

Two North Carolina Firefighters have been charged with DWI following a crash responding to a fire. Orrum Township VFD Assistant Chief Kenneth Aaron Caulder Jr. and Fairmont RFD Deputy Chief Melquan Williams have been charged with DWI and had their driver’s licenses revoked for 30 days following a crash on Saturday, Williams was to become chief of the department in January.

Reports are that the two men were responding to a structure fire when the crash occurred. Williams was following Caulder’s vehicle. Both men were driving their personal vehicles.

Caulder crashed his Jeep on N.C. 41 around 0231 hours when the vehicle crossed the centerline, “ran off the road to the right and struck a ditch.” He refused to take a breathalyzer test.

Caulder and his female passenger, who were not wearing seat belts, were ejected. Both were transported by Robeson County EMS to UNC Health Southeastern for treatment of minor injuries. Cops said Williams had a strong odor of alcohol and later blew a .14.

In July 2018, Caulder and Williams were among 10 other Firefighters with Fairmont Rural and Orrum Township VFD’s charged with arson. Charges came after an investigation by the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office; State Bureau of Investigation; Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the N.C. Forest Service.

Caulder was charged with six counts of felony arson, burning a church, uninhabited house, store, two counts of felony setting fire to grass, brush, woods, and seven counts of felony conspiracy. He will appear in court for arson charges on Jan. 14 and on Jan. 20for the DWI charge.

Williams lost his job as a Maxton police officer in 2018 following the arson investigation, of which received charges of one count each of felony arson, burning a church, uninhabited house, store, and felony conspiracy. He will appear in court Jan. 7 for arson charges and Jan. 20 for DWI.


Four Chester County (near Philly) Firefighters were injured after the fire apparatus they were in was involved in a crash, causing it to overturn. On Friday afternoon, Dec. 3, Sadsburyville Fire Co. was dispatched to Sadsbury Township for a report of an electrical fire inside a house. The engine was traveling south on Old Wilmington Road in the direction of the initial incident. The fire engine then became involved in a rollover crash.

Fortunately the 4 Firefighters inside the fire truck were wearing seat belts. The Firefighters were able to self-extricate from the vehicle and were tended to by EMS responders on the scene. All injuries were minor.

A Hubert VFD fire apparatus returning from a parade rolled over this morning. The Captain was reportedly having chest pains just prior to the incident. KTIYP’s.

A Paramedic was holding onto the roll cage of a utility vehicle while riding a bicycle to an emergency call at the Little Rock Marathon on Nov. 21 when he was pulled under the vehicle and killed in the Line of Duty.

EMS Major Dean Douglas, 50, died in the Line of Duty last Friday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences from severe head trauma caused by the crash.

About 1000 hours Nov. 21, two hours after the marathon started, Douglas and two other EMS members were dispatched to a call about a marathon runner needing medical assistance. Neothe EMS members in the UV were injured.

Major Douglas’ last act of heroism was donating his organs. A father of three, owned D2 Comics and More in Jacksonville, and was a volunteer Fire Captain with the Gravel Ridge Fire Department. He also was a Navy veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.
The Secret List 12/4/2021-1545 Hours

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Firefighter with pending arson charges crashes while responding to fire, gets DWI”

  1. Bill – is there a special category of the Darwin Award for firefighters? If there is, this post has a list of top candidates.

    1. Dick, you got that right, and it does not take much to be hired on a fire department around there. a voise from the past. Sue Hillier Puddy


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