August 31, 2011
A Review of Fire Men
by Susanne Drazic
The Lackawanna County chief deputy coroner faces felony arson charges after he tried to pay an undercover trooper $40,000 to set fire to a building so he could collect insurance proceeds, state police at Dunmore said Friday.
Troopers arrested Joseph A. Swoboda, 111 Estate Drive, Waverly Twp., on Friday on charges of arson, solicitation to commit arson, arson for insurance purposes and one misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment.
Mr. Swoboda, who was appointed deputy coroner in 1992 by former Coroner William Sweeny, met with an undercover trooper on Monday at JJ Bridjes restaurant in South Abington Twp., indicating that he "wanted to solicit someone to commit an act of arson on a property that he owned," state police said in a news release issued late Friday afternoon.
Mr. Swoboda offered $40,000 to the undercover trooper, adding that as an "act of good faith," he would pay $1,000 on Friday at another meeting at the restaurant, followed by $5,000 on a separate date, state police said.
Mr. Swoboda allegedly said he wanted the fire to look like an accident and wished to collect the insurance money.
The state police news release did not indicate the address of where the alleged arson was to occur. The release only makes mention of it as a "property" Mr. Swoboda owns, and "that there was no one currently living in the apartments inside the building."
Mr. Swoboda allegedly told the undercover trooper that it was "very important" that the fire was set when he was out of town on vacation later this month, state police said.
The undercover trooper arrested Mr. Swoboda outside the Davies and Jones Funeral Chapel, 135 S. Main Ave., in Scranton, at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
Mr. Swoboda was taking the undercover trooper to the funeral home and was attempting to unlock and enter the front door of the building when he was taken into custody by state police.
Efforts to reach state police spokesman Trooper Bill Satkowski, Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola and First Assistant District Attorney Gene Talerico were unsuccessful Friday.
A criminal complaint in the case could not be obtained Friday.
Coroner Tim Rowland said Mr. Swoboda was suspended without pay Friday after he received notice of the charges from the district attorney's office.
"He's suspended until further notice pending the outcome of the charges," Mr. Rowland said.
Mr. Swoboda was chief deputy coroner under former Coroner Joseph Brennan, who retired from the post early this year
"I'm disappointed for sure, and surprised," said Mr. Brennan, who was appointed chief deputy coroner in 1992 by Mr. Sweeny. "It's just unfortunate."
Mr. Swoboda is listed as president of Davies & Jones Funeral Chapel, Inc., 135 S. Main Ave., in a filing on the state Department of State website. Robert C. Jones was listed as treasurer.
On the funeral home's own website, Mr. Jones is listed as president and supervisor.
Mr. Jones could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Swoboda was arraigned before Lackawanna County Judge Vito P. Geroulo and placed in Lackawanna County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail, where he remained Friday night.
Courtesy of the Scranton Times Tribune.
The officers and members of the fire company would to thank everyone for coming out and supporting us during this fundraiser! We greatly appreciate your parsonage. We would also like to thank our "pit crew" for preparing all the chickens and their hard work. Also a special thank you goes out to:
For more information on Gary's Book, Check out the following sites:
Author:Gary R. Ryman
Publication Date:April 20, 2011
Source:publisher for Tribute Books Blog Tour| My FTC Disclaimer
Purchase:Amazon| Barnes And Noble| Google
Publisher: Tribute Books website and Facebook and Twitter
About the book:
Having served over thirty years in fire departments across three states, Gary R. Ryman brings a unique perspective to the firefighting experience. The son and father of firefighters, Ryman ignites the fire, smoke, blood and fear spanning three generations of the "family business." He recounts his early days in upstate New York learning from his father, the department fire chief. He describes the blazes he battled with a career and volunteer crew in the crowded suburbs of Washington, D.C. He examines the mentoring relationship established with his son as they respond to the calls of a volunteer department in rural Pennsylvania. Overall, Ryman shares both the personal and professional turning points that define a firefighting career.
Gary R. Ryman is the second of three generations of firefighters. He has a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from the University of Maryland and has been employed as a fire protection engineer for over twenty-five years. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in American History. Ryman is married with two children. His oldest son makes up the third generation of firefighters in his family, which makes him feel both old and young at the same time.
My husband has been a volunteer fire fighter for 7 or 8 of the last 10 years, on two different fire departments. He also worked oilfield safety as a fire-watch fire fighter. When Tribute Books approached me about doing a review of this book, I couldn’t wait to get my paws on the book!
I have loved every story, felt emotions along with the fire men, felt his mother’s anxiety as she waited to hear word on this or that situation. I found myself coming to a better understanding of what my husband experiences when he goes out on these calls, when he experiences these injuries. My husband is not open about feelings and experiences. Part of this could be to spare me stress and worry, and partly just to cope with the job itself. I understand better his love for the job, his adrenaline rush when the pager tones and the let down of that rush when he arrives home, safe.
This book is a must read for anyone wanting to understand what our fire fighters and their families experience in their day to day lives. It’s not just for fire wives or fire parents. Fire wives already get it a little bit, but for any fire wives (past or present) reading, this book will give you a deeper insight, that your fire fighter may not give you.
I know our department (probably many other departments out there do) has a number of women fire fighters as well. This book is from a man’s perspective (three generations of fire men); I’d love to have input from my own gender on how this job affects them, too, in comparison to the men we know.
Gary is the author of “Fire-Men” – a newly released autobiography of three generations of firefighters in the Ryman family, a tradition that started with Gary’s father and continues today in Gary’s son Michael. Listen in as Gary and Tiger share their adventures and their stories of life in the fire service.
Tiger also introduces a new and exciting relationship with Fireman’s Fund Insurance and their renowned Heritage Program which has awarded more than $28 million to fire departments for needed equipment, firefighter training and community education programs.
Tiger will be giving away copies of the video DVD titled: “Into the Fire” to selected guests who call into the show to share their story.
Produced by Firemen’s Fund Insurance and just like Tiger’s site Run-to-the-Curb and his Firefighter Storytellers radio show – “Into the Fire” shares the stories of firefighters across America and what brought them to the fire service.
Sit around the firehouse and listen in to this exciting show and don’t forget to visit www.RuntotheCurb.com and tell us your story.
You can buy “Fire Men: Stories From Three Generations of a Firefighting Family” here
A large portion of the book details Gary’s journey in the fire service as he goes to his first fire, becomes a company officer, is a live in firefighter while attending college, and eventually making it to the chief officer ranks.
Finally the book details the beginning of Gary’s son Mike as he beings to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, and father as a third generation fireman.
My self being a second generation fireman I have definitely felt a lot of the emotions that the author has experienced. My dad has been a fireman for around 30 years in various capacities (industrial, volunteer, and career) and me and my brother have been in the same position as the author on several instances coming up under someone with a lot of knowledge and background, learning from him, getting scolded for doing something dumb, and finally succeeding and getting to a level where he viewed us as equals and not just his sons. So on that level I really enjoyed the book as I could relate to it. I can also relate to being a young fire officer in a volunteer organization, then having kids and having to cut back (or stop all together in my case).
One thing that was both positive and negative was how the book was layed out. The book is a lot like a firehouse BS session, while good it is sometimes hard to follow. The author will tell a detailed account of an incident, and state that was not the only call that would be horrible that day (or some other teaser) then never talk about it or mention it again. I found this a little frustrating as it could have led to more detail of the story. I also wish there would have been a little more on his “live in” experience while attending college. I feel like that alone is another whole book and I hope him or some other author out there visits this topic, I would surely like to read it, and if I could go back and do it over again it I would have chosen that path to pursue my college education.
Overall this is a good read, and shows how the fire service has progressed over three generations. I definitely recommend picking it up and giving it a chance.
You can pick up the book here: http://www.fire-men-book.com
You can also become a fan of the book on face book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fire-Men-Stories-from-Three-Generations-of-a-Firefighting-Family/183551625026176?sk=wall
A special thanks to Tribute Books http://www.tribute-books.com for giving me a copy of the book to review.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!