Firefighter charged with exploding pipe bomb
Bevin Milavsky, Lehigh Valley Live
August 21, 2007 11:27AM
A Bethlehem firefighter was arrested this morning and has been suspended by the department for allegedly setting off a pipe bomb behind his home in May.
City police said Steven Pasco, 39, of the 1400 block of High Street suffered vision damage, ringing in his ears and cuts to his face after the alleged May 26 incident.
He was taken to the burn unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. He admitted "it was a stupid thing to do," according to court papers.
Pasco told police he was using "a double mortar tube" device with gunpowder. When he lit the fuse, the device blew up in his face. The device, which fire officials said was illegal, was deemed "extremely dangerous and hazardous."
Pasco told police the device was a civil war replica cannon used by re-enactors. But an expert at Gettysburg National Military Park said that is not the case.
He was arraigned before District Judge James Narlesky on charges of arson and related offenses: possession of explosive or incendiary materials or devices; reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. He was released on $100,000 bail.
Bethlehem Fire Commissioner George Barkanic issued a news release about 3:30 this afternoon stating, "Firefighter Steve J. Pasco has been suspended with full pay until further notice. This is a personnel issue and no additional comments will be forthcoming from the Bethlehem Fire Department at this time."