UPDATE: Melanson pleaded not guilty Friday to arson and embezzlement.
A Compton firefighter is expected to appear in court Friday to face charges he allegedly set his fire department’s headquarters ablaze in an effort to destroy evidence of his suspected theft.
Marcel Melanson, 37, was arrested at his Torrance home Wednesday morning on suspicion of arson and grand theft, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Thursday evening.
A former deputy chief, Melanson was taken into custody in connection with a suspicious fire at the Compton Fire Department Headquarters (map) on Dec. 11, 2011.
Investigators believe Melanson stole thousands of dollars in Motorola radios from his employer and sold them online. Then, authorities said, the 15-year veteran of the department is suspected of setting fire to the department headquarters to destroy the evidence.
Melanson is being held on $250,000 bail. His arraignment is set for Friday morning at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
In 2009, Melanson was featured on a realtiy show about the Compton Fire Department that aired on BET.
NBC4's Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.