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Mom Set Small Fires to Help Firefighter Son

August 4, 1995

MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. (AP) _ A mother is accused of setting forest fires to boost her son’s firefighting career.

``She wanted him to be able to go and fight a lot of fires and make extra money,″ said Mark Reina, an investigator for the California Forestry Department. ``She just did it on her own, figuring she was helping him.″

Joy Glassman, 60, was charged Wednesday with arson and freed on $10,000 bail. She could get up to 20 years in prison.

Authorities said the Mount Shasta woman set five fires, using a match and dry brush, along a Northern California highway in the Shasta Trinity National Forest beginning in June 1994. Each fire was put out before a half-acre had burned.

Investigators said her son, Jason Robertson, a seasonal firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, knew nothing of his mother’s activities. Seasonal firefighters receive a base pay but are paid extra when they fight fires.

Robertson faces no charges. He has resigned from the Forest Service.

``We’ve never seen anything like it. It’s just kind of bizarre,″ said District Attorney Pete Knoll. ``Statistically, you almost never see females with no records out setting small fires.″

Glassman was captured on film leaving the fire area on three occasions this year, Reina said. Besides the five fires she has admitted setting, footprints and tire tracks link her to six others, the investigator said.

There are no telephone listings for Glassman or her son.

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