Walter I. Finney, 30-year-old volunteer fireman of New Canaan, Conn., who last July 9 touched off a blaze in a shed owned by his employer, the New Canaan Lumber Company, was sentenced to nine months in jail by Judge Thomas A. Malloy in Superior Court, Bridgeport, on Oct. 15, but execution of the sentence will be suspended at the end of 45 days so that the defendent may continue to receive psychiatric treatment.
Finney, who pleaded guilty to willful burning of a building, used a cigarette lighter to set fire to a pile of empty cement bags, State’s Attorney Lorin W. Willis told the court. The blaze was started by Finney as he was enroute to his home after finishing his day’s work in the lumber yard, according to the State’s Attorney.
A few minutes after an alarm had been sounded by a passerby Finney jumped aboard a fire truck as it passed his house, about two blocks from the scene of the blaze, and assisted fellow firefighters in extinguishing the fire. Damage amounted to only a few dollars. Police who questioned Finney, said he admitted that he had set fires in three taxicabs which he formerly operated, and that he turned in several calls for grass fires, and was interrogated in connection with a fire which destroyed an abandoned house owned by his mother in Vista, N. Y., and a blaze which damaged slightly his own home.