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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 09, 2011 at 10:27 AM
Hey bozo, Chief Mcnamara has been doing his job for a very long time. He knows a whole lot more about this story and this guy than any of us will ever know. There is a brave young man laying in a bed in the burn unit at Bport hospital that went where many will not go, into a burning building to find victims because of his bozo (he is no relation is he?) I say charge him with attempted murder and terrorism. He is our very own home grow terrorist.
Muffy in Wonderland September 09, 2011 at 12:40 PM
I absolutely and completely 100% agree with Jennifer Hochberg Member, RTM, District 7. What is such an imperfect person doing in our perfect town? WHY?
Marcia Miner September 09, 2011 at 02:45 PM
The variety of these comments is a reminder how great it is to live in a democracy. There is always someone to say, "Hey wait a minute," when someone jumps to a conclusion, and then someone else says, yeah but so and so said. It is how we learn from each other and get a better handle on an issue, provided are not locked into having to be right. Marcia Miner
V September 09, 2011 at 03:00 PM
You are so right Marcia, Hey how is that microphone you have with all the names of the people who talked through it engraved on it. That thing should be displayed somewhere like the Historical museum
Marcia Miner September 09, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Who is V? It isn't appropriate for the Ffld Historical Museum because it would be in storage most all the time. It should go to the museum in the NYC (forgot the name) that has permanent displays of various media objects.
rlr September 10, 2011 at 01:37 AM
I worked with this man last year the day after the Hurricane hit Bridgeport. Having seen him at my workplace throughout the last few years, all I can say is I'm not suprised.
Hugh Dolan September 13, 2011 at 06:09 AM
These incidents., once again, demonstrate quite vividly, the benefits of well trained and equipped Fire Attack, Investigation, and Police Forces.As you can see, while Fairfield sleeps, evil still lurks. But the Bravest and Finest respond at every hour.Whether the call is for a man with chest pain, a motor vehicle accident,a collapsed building, a structure fire, or any other emergency, your employees respond swiftly and competently.
Lola September 14, 2011 at 01:10 PM
Well that makes one intelligent comment here. I do applaud , as I alway have - the ever efficient FD. 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. I am still haunted by the deaths of the Donnelly's and thier store is shouting distance to "this perfect towns" Police headquarters ( perfect town ? WOW some people live in a dream world ) and the police should have been on the lookout - and stopped crime before it killed two wonderful citizens. SO when this dept finally gets the "guy" before it's happened , then I will sleep better. McNamara needs to move his family to Fairfield. This town reminds me of that movie "RAMBO"- they make up thier own rules ! and by the way I pray for that unfortunate and obviously ill young man - the ? I ask is who wasn't watching him ...didn't someone close see he was on the brink ? ( yes of course I pray for injured FD personell- that goes w/o saying)
Lola September 14, 2011 at 01:16 PM
yes, true BUT THAT IS THEIR JOB, just LIKE SOLDIERS ! They choose to be a responder, and we expect the best they can offer. They are all paid depts, they are aware of risks. We are all saddened to hear if they are injured.
Lola September 14, 2011 at 01:22 PM
REASON- ? uh - he was ill. mentally. who would ever choose to do anything harmful and destructive unless they were certifiable? As for the comment of being mindful if it was your close family or friend in the burn unit - where is your sense of humanity? What about the family of the accused. Victims are on both sides.
Hugh Dolan September 14, 2011 at 02:12 PM
You are right. Lola-- that's why we have protective forces. Because these kinds of things happen.
Lola September 15, 2011 at 11:21 AM
Gee I have seen a gazillon people express themselves with "artistic" photos on facebook. I guess if you live in the world of munchkinland you think everyone wears bright colors and carries a lollipop. There are many expressions of personification. I saw he used Johnny Depp as his main photo. I was not abhorred by the depcition. Alot of young people ( and not so young ) love Vampire and gothic themes. they do not frighten me. But then my mind is a parchute- very open ! So "J" thank you for your thoughts.
Lola September 15, 2011 at 11:39 AM
As for the person who considers this young man born of evil .... I wonder if his parents would agree ? I was not surprised to learn his father was a Fairfield Police detective for 17 years. ( Norman D. Message 1970-87) Wonder why that wasn't mentioned ?
Lola September 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Amen !
V September 15, 2011 at 02:24 PM
Holy smokes Lola you have some real free time on your hands, you have looked at a "gazillon" facebook pictures? The point of my comment was his pictures are of him and buildings in NYC and nothing else. His own coworkers call him crazy. He is a homegrown terrorist.
Lola September 16, 2011 at 01:45 AM
I guess I am not threading my comments correctly- I was complimenting Just another Bozo on the bus for his/her insight ! as for the Mysterious " V" I am not sure if you just dont "get it" . I rarely go to facebook, unless I want to enjoy photos of friends and family, If I didnt I would be missing out ! Social networks are not something I take seriously. I do however find there is Nothing disturbing about the suspects facebooks pages. I do find your quick to snap judgement and ability to call a person "a murderer" VERY disturbing. The resounding theme here reminds me of a time when I was a young person when a terrible , terrible thing happened in Westport to an innocent 5 year old girl- it haunts me to this day - only because everyone who went to school, worked with , and even family memebers would all say - I really thought there was something wrong with him.... the young man who raped and strangled this sweet child near her own backyard. ( so why didn't he get help before he did mortal harm ????) I believe we are our brothers keepers -but not in that judgemental, name calling mode. I am frustrated when I learn that harm could have been prevented BEFORE it happened. The solution - I don't have all the answers, but I am starting with the question.
Lola September 16, 2011 at 01:49 AM
Well said !! - keep an open mind and a good book near you always ! I never learned anything from someone who thought the same as I did!
V September 16, 2011 at 10:44 AM
Lola you said this..."Gee I have seen a gazillon people express themselves with "artistic" photos on facebook." What is one to take from that???? What ever illness you want to assign this 34 year old man, the bottom line is he caused terror and tried to kill firefighters. That means he is a terrorist and a murderer. He is just more capable of terror than murder because firefighters are trained to deal with fire set by fools like him.
Michael Champagne September 16, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Tarl, I posted my response to the original story -- as story which made no mention of Message's confession. Therefore, it was not immediately evident that the police had arrested "the right guy." As to your assertion that "...(you) WANT the police to believe and think they have the guilty person...otherwise, dont arrest them." What if the police believed you were the perpetrator? Would you WANT them to arrest you? Just b/c the police BELIEVE one to be the guilty party, doesn't make it so.
Michael Champagne September 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM
Ummm, @ V: There's no evidence in the story that Message "TRIED (emphasis mine) to kill firefighters" (unless he confessed to that). And since no one was killed by his (admittedly sociopathic) actions, he's not a murderer. You seem to have read a lot into the story that's not readily apparent to the rest of us.
Lola September 17, 2011 at 08:15 AM
Thank You Michael I have been trying to see things as "V" does, so maybe I can better appeal to her. I will try once again by responding to his/her last comment. Artistic expression = is a good thing.( 1st Amendment rights) You may only want pictures of flowers and picnics. Another may like tall buildings and shadowy faces. I read the accused twitter account " Archangelxxx" - and sensed such frustrations- but I am very sensitive. When I went to facebook, I found nothing disturbing, as according to Psychiatric Diagnostics ( no I am not a doctor- I just read a lot) example- if I had seen one open razor shaving a cat, or wielding a weapon . [These actually are seen on cartoons - all the time. How ironic ]- as this is what would alarm me. Not architecture and face pictures.
Lola September 17, 2011 at 08:15 AM
As for terrorism I disagree. If you were to look at things from the accused view poiint - it appeared to me he was very careful to choose empty homes...and that says to me he didnt want to hurt anyone. ( of course now only my simple interpretation) and if you REread the post previously submitted by others you will understand that it is a job hazard to be injured in the line of duty. I think that this unfortunate young man worst sin is thinking only of himself and his pain before anything else. It doesn't matter what I have deem to judge against him, it is in the courts hands now. I pray for him, his family and all misunderstood. By the way - I have observed you are one to Label, that is a curious thing. There is more than black and white, my dear- many many shades of gray in between.
V September 17, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Umm, @ Michael: Did you access any other media on this story?? In his confesson Mr. Message said he was angry at being fired from his job at AMR and that putting on the uniform was everything to him. Because of this anger he confessed he was going to "get back" at firefighters, EMT's and other emergency workers. Michael this young man was an emergency worker, he knows that if he starts a house fire firefighters will enter the burning building. A burning home for sale (Lola this is for you also) vacant or under construction does not stop firefighters from entering and doing a search for victims. Lola will will tell you he pick vacant homes for sale. Lola doesn't know that many vacant for sale homes have become sleeping places for the many homeless in Fairfield at night. Firefighters know that and that is why they will alway go in and search. Michael you may want to try and minimize Mr. Message's behavior and I will back off and call him an attemped murderer. But he is still a home grown terrorist. Just ask the spouses and children of the firefighters if they were very concerned about the safety of their loved ones. Ask the residents of Stratfield near these arson scenes.
V September 17, 2011 at 12:52 PM
Lola you say " it appeared to me he was very careful to choose empty homes...and that says to me he didnt want to hurt anyone. ( of course now only my simple interpretation)" I say very simple interpretation. Do you think Mr. Message entered and searched every room in those homes to make sure no one was inside? Do you know homeless people in Fairfield have taken to sleeping in these vacant for sale homes at night? As I said to Michael, Mr. Message was an emergency worker, he knows firefighters are going in to every burning build to search for victims. In his confession he stated he was angry for being fired from his job at AMR and was going to "get back" at firefighters, EMT's and other emergency workers. You think he is not a terrorist?? Ask the spouses and children of the firefighters they will disagree with you. Ask the residents of the Strafield section of town. I agree our firefighters are our civilian soliders and the nature of the job is going to hurt or kill them. That said the last thing they need is a home grown terrorist attempting to kill firefighters, EMT's and other emergency workers because he is angry for being fired from his job. The logic is, if Mr. Message didn't start a fire a firefighter would not be burned and scarred for the rest of his life. Lola, I am not your dear and Mr. Message's actions are very black and white to me and many.
Lola September 17, 2011 at 02:30 PM
OK "V" I give up- your persistance prevails. It must be a good feeling to know it all. I always thought police didn't release all information on suspects. But you know for certain all the details.. TRUE, you and so many people only read black and white. I had no idea homeless people slept in Fairfields' empty Mc Mansions- they must have skelton keys and alarm codes too! - I thought that is what Operation hope was for - silly simple me. If I was to play Dr. Fraud, I would look at the family picture and think that maybe he was trying to get back at many emergency professions , including the one at home. BUt then again,I am simple, I just read and draw my own conclusions. I have yet to press them on another as fact. No I DO NOT SEE Mr. Message as a terrorist. I do wonder how you got such a bunch in your panties ! God Bless America and pray save me from thinkers like "V"
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 (Editor) September 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments. This thread is now closed.

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