Troy, NY - Rensselaer County District Mary Pat Donnelly announced today that the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s office, the City of Troy Police Department and the Troy Fire Department were awarded the Alton Lewis Fire Investigation Team of the Year Award at the annual International Association of Arson Investigators.
The International Association of Arson Investigators awards three awards annually in the State of New York. (1) The James H McGroarty Fire Investigator of the Year Aware which has been award annually to a nominated arson/fire investigator since 1989; (2) Arson Prosecutor of the Year which has been awarded annually since 1990 and (3) the Alton Lewis Team of the Year Award which has been awarded annually since 1991. Since the inception of these awards no agency has been awarded one of these prestigious awards that are located within Rensselaer County.
Our nomination was forwarded to the IAAI by William McGovern (Chief of Investigations) of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
The Alton Lewis Fire Investigation Team of the Year Award was awarded for the aforementioned departments work on a residential/commercial arson investigation of a fire set by Matthew Woelfersheim at 165 Fourth Street at approximately 7:26am on September 2, 2020. The building in question had two commercial spaces on the first floor and four apartments located on the second and third floors of the building. Two residents were home during the fire and escaped from the burning building unscathed. The building sustained heat, smoke, fire and water damage as a result of the fire and subsequent fire suppression efforts. The defendant Matthew Woelfersheim, 46, of Schaghticoke was a former volunteer fire official (chief) of the Schaghticoke Volunteer Fire Department, who was previously convicted of Arson in Albany County and served 4-12 years in State Prison. Wolfersheim was convicted before the Honorable Jennifer G. Sober in Rensselaer County Court on February 1, 2022 and was sentenced to 12 Years determinate and 5 years of post-release supervision. The case was investigated by the Troy Fire Department, Assistant Chief David Paul, the Troy Police Department, with assistance with NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control Investigator John Fairclough, Detective Sergeant Martin Furciniti and was prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hauf. Those agencies accepted the Alton Lewis Fire Investigation Team of the Year Award at the annual banquet on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 in Watkins Glen NY.
Pictured in order from left to right are:
1. Dixon Robin (president of NYS IAAI chapter 23)
2. John Fairclough- NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control- Fire Investigator
3. Richard Cellucci- Deputy Chief Troy Fire Department
4. Gregory Amyot- NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control- Fire Investigator
5. Matthew Ciprioni- Captain Troy Fire Department- Retired
6. Martin Furciniti- Detective Sergeant Troy Police Department
7. Matthew Hauf- Chief Assistant District Attorney Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office
8. William McGovern- NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control- Chief of Investigations