The New Milford firefighter accused of torching the landmark Susquehanna County eatery that employed him pleaded guilty to a felony arson charge on Thursday.
Daniel Parsons Jr., 19, admitted to setting the April 11 fire that destroyed Bingham’s Restaurant in Lenox.
In addition to being employed at Bingham’s as a dishwasher, Parsons was a rookie, volunteer firefighter with the New Milford Fire Company – one of the 12 departments who were on the scene the night of the fire.
Although also charged with lesser arson offenses, Parsons pleaded guilty in the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas to the highest count lodged against him, a first degree felony.
He faces up to 20 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced by President Judge Kenneth Seamans on Sept. 30.
District Attorney Jason Legg said that jail time could not make up for the devastation the fire caused for the businesses involved, employees and loyal customers.
“It’s a pretty unfortunate situation,” said Legg. “I hope he gets an appropriate punishment for it.”
In addition to Bingham’s, two other businesses were also destroyed in the blaze – Country Landmarks Real Estate and The Outdoorsman, a sporting goods store.
Legg said, “Arsons really affect people in bad, bad ways. In this case, it touches countless families.”
“The entire community lost something that was an icon in a lot of ways,” said Legg. “I hope they’re able to recover and come back stronger.”