MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 16, 2011

Firefighter arrested in connection with arson

An Oklahoma Forestry Service firefighter was arrested Monday in connection with a series of wildfires intentionally set in Cherokee County.

Mike Malenski, 38, was placed on administrative leave pending termination following the arrest. Malenski served seven years as a forest ranger based in Tahlequah.

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, & Forestry law enforcement officers investigated the fires after receiving calls regarding the possibility of arson. Officials said they will be presenting the case to the Cherokee County District Attorney for prosecution.

“We investigate arson and we bring those we catch to justice. It was regrettable that it was one of our own employees,” said Mark Goeller, assistant director in charge of fire operations with Oklahoma Forestry Services.

Arson is a felony punishable by up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

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