Arrest in Fairfield Arson Fires

Christopher Message, 34, is suspected in additional arson fires in Fairfield and other towns, police said.

Update 10:20 p.m.

A 34-year-old Fairfield man described by police as a “serial arsonist” has confessed to setting the Thursday that resulted in the hospitalization of two firefighters, officials said.

Christopher Message, 34, of Valley Road, was taken into custody and charged with three counts of first-degree arson, as well as one count of first-degree burglary, according to Chief Gary MacNamara.

With tips from residents and evidence collected by firefighters and other emergency responders, police were able to identify Message as the arsonist of those fires and suspect him of additional arsons in Fairfield and other towns, MacNamara said during a press briefing Thursday night at police headquarters.

“He is a suspect and we do believe he may be responsible for other fires that occurred in other jurisdictions and we are working with other jurisdictions to see whether we can link him to those arson fires,” MacNamara said, flanked by Richard Felner, fire officials and members of the police department’s detective bureau. “He is a suspect in several other municipalities, and we are working with them right now.”

One Fairfield firefighter in a Cornell Road blaze, while a second firefighter went to the hospital for an injury caused by a hose coupling while battling a fire at Woodridge Avenue. A third fire had occurred on North Benson Road.

According to Felner, the firefighter injured on Woodridge Avenue has been released from the hospital, while the one who sustained burns remains at Bridgeport Hospital.

“He’s doing fine,” Felner said. “He’s in pain and had some serious burns, so they’re keeping him. We don’t know when he’ll be released.”

It isn’t clear whether Message has a criminal record or what motivated him to set the fires, MacNamara said.

“Our investigation continues,” he said.

“Clearly, this individual had his reason and his motives, we’re still sorting through some of that,” he continued.

MacNamara credited firefighters and emergency responders already working hard in the wake of tropical storm Irene.

According to MacNamara, Message is a suspect in other Fairfield fires, including a blaze that .

“It’s not that the fires just occurred 18 hours ago, because what we realized was that three fires that had occurred a few days earlier were now linked to these that occurred last night,” he said.

News of the arrest caps a day of widespread speculation about whether the Thursday morning fires were in fact arson.

“We’ve got an individual lighting houses on fire, and they’re vacant houses but lighting residences on fire, causing a very dangerous situation,” MacNamara said. “And we at that point indicated that we’re going to deploy all the resources necessary to solve that and put the individual responsible in custody and again, I’m happy to say that tonight the individual responsible for the three fires last night—as well as the three fires that occurred several nights ago—is now in police custody. And we’re very happy to say that we will not have any arson fires committed by this individual again in the town of Fairfield and I’m extremely happy to say that.”

Message’s bond has not yet been set, MacNamara said.

Original Story

Fairfield police say they have arrested Christopher Message, 34, of Valley Road in Fairfield, for the early-morning arsons. He also is suspected in arsons from last weekend.

He faces charges of three counts of first-degree arson, and one count of first-degree burglary, according to Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara.

"We want to make sure that the community knows that the person responsible for last night's havoc ... has been arrested," MacNamara said during a press briefing moments ago at police headquarters.

The comments come on the heels of three pre-dawn fires Thursday that took place in different sections of town, all within 90 minutes.

Patch will update this article as more information becomes available.

V September 17, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Lola: The infomation I read came from several different media outlets. Some reporters collect more information than others. Just look around for other reports. Fairfield homeless do not pick mcmansions with alarms they pick average vacant homes usually with the power shut off. Mr. Message did not burn mcmansions, he burned average houses. Of coarse you know that Operation hope is filled to capacity almost every night. Also that many homeless will not utilize Operation hope for several reasons. Lola as far as my panties are concerned, I don't wear underwear and you don't see him as a terrorist, guess you need to check the dictionary, then ask some of the good folks in the Stratfield section of town or any of the firefighters spouses and children what they think. You do admit he is trying to get back at emergency professions. I would think getting back would be something nondeadly like letting the air out of their tires or some other sort of vandalizim. Mr. Message went way past that with his potentionaly deadly actions. Lastly don't give up, silly simples like you can catch up. Good luck!
Lola September 17, 2011 at 06:10 PM
You aren't quick enough to catch sarcasm. Now getting your information from media - LOL that is funny ! I do read, but I dont believe any thing I hear and only half of what I see. Media is an outlet for creating sensationalism. Thus People who are afraid, like to feel control by activating thier consumer powers. My family and relatives are first responders, mostly police. I need not canvass anyone on thier fears for their families safety.I also said he is no doubt ill. I will take a leap here and guess you haven't known anyone who suffers from mental disease. A terrorist is not plainly (see I can avoid the word simple so you arent confused) someone who terrorizes. I am astounded that homes in Stratfield , and the one on No Benson is what you consider "average". maybe fairfield County average. Not American average- I do belive the Chatam ave home is listed at 3/4 million dollars. But I can't discuss gray with someone who only sees black and white. I can't wait to get this delete function working. Praying for Mr. Message, his family and anyone who suffers illness, injury and loss. God loves us all, and hopes we learn tolerance , and become our brothers keepers ( as in a watchful, loving eye)
V September 17, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Lola your sarcasm is juvenile at best, save it for your kids. Mr. Message is ill and he terrorized people. Chatham rd was not a mcmansion and none of the others were either. 3/4 of a million is average in Fairfield. But they could have housed homeless folks. Lola you say your families are first responders mostly police, then in a previous post you said "As for the PD well , the young man accused here was supossedly sitting by the crime scenes, supposedly confessed, and from what I know- was handed to FPD info by Bridgeport PD. Hardly what I consider CRACK police work." That very kind of you to speak of your families fellow coworkers with such high regard. I pray for our firefighters and police officers every day and pray this young firefighter in the hospital recovers well enough to return to the greatest job in the world. The delete function now thats funny...Lola doesn't like it...make it go away.
Lola September 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM
Again you don't understand , I want my participation in this inane thread- deleted. You will go on and on-as the small minded thinker always does. Fairfield is a lovely town, if you can afford it. I call them as I see them, and FYI my family members are State Troopers. My children are grown and on thier own living in other places, happy and successful ( Thank God) I am a Nurse, I see the inhumanities everyday, and never once have I judged one person more needy over another. That is for God , not me. I strive to learn and help others open thier eyes. You didn't answer to knowing anyone you love that suffers from a mental health issue ? You are quite concerned with the homeless, and where they may be hidden. Jesus was quoted, there will be poor always hopelessly struggling... So much must be on your mind. Rest sometime "V" look at the good things in this life. After all this blogging maybe I have gotten through to you on some small level.
Michael Dinan September 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments. This thread is now closed.


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