CHICAGO — A man charged with arson for torching seven trash containers in Belmont Cragin on Sunday works as a volunteer firefighter, his girlfriend said Monday.
Thomas Walsh, 23, faces five counts of arson. He allegedly set fire to carpet scraps in a dumpster near the 6100 block of West Fletcher Street and then walked west down an alley while setting trash containers ablaze.
Cook County Judge Edward Harmening set Walsh's bond at $100,000 Monday.
Walsh is pictured in a mug shot provided by police wearing a fire department T-shirt. According to his girlfriend, who stood in court when his name was called, Walsh was a volunteer firefighter.
"He volunteers just to help out," said Magda Borawska, 27.
Chicago Fire Department officials said the CFD does not have volunteer firefighters and would not comment further.
Borawska lives with Walsh in the 3100 block of North Menard Avenue, which is just a few blocks away from the scene.
"This is very out of character," she said while fighting back tears outside the courtroom Monday.
The fire spread to a garage and damaged vehicles, prosecutors said. One, a Ford Focus, is a "total loss." According to prosecutors, Walsh was caught on a security camera.
Police found him sleeping in a vehicle outside his home when they arrested him around 6 a.m.