Wednesday, November 13, 2013

If The Noose Fits ...


Let It Tighten Slowly ...

YNN reports: "Greece Police say progress is being made in an investigation into a deadly fire at the Holiday Inn nearly 35 years ago.

Greece Police were joined by other agencies in searching the Ridge Road Fire District headquarters on Long Pond Road in October. They say some evidence was gathered on that day, and the puzzle is becoming more clear.

Police are calling this an arson, which makes it a homicide investigation. Ten people died in the Nov. 26, 1978 fire, and 34 were injured.

"We're pretty excited about where we're going. I would have given it about a 20 percent chance of solving it; I'm going somewhere around 50 percent now. Two good detectives have been working on that case for over two years. State Police, ATF, FBI, they're all on board with us, helping us out anyway they can so if we ever could, we will," said Captain Patrick Phelan, Greece Police Department.

Ridge Road Fire Chief Bud Phillips has been called a person of interest by Greece Police.
Investigators have not commented on whether he still is, or if he's among the hundreds of people authorities have interviewed.
  

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I think most intelligent people can draw the conclusion that he is, most certainly, a person of "interest".

Patty Rourke said...

I would like to know why Phillips is a person of interest? He was a firefighter back then. Is he being a scape goat for something? It was a fire wasn't it? Now I am curious but again I will say to you all that Greece has gotten so corrupt that now they are after someone who has done a job I or probably you wouldn't do. I would really like to find out the results of this investigation.

Anonymous said...

Evidence? What kind? Motive? Means? Opportunity? All three are needed to make an indictable charge against a potential suspect believed to have committed the crime. Without physical evidence, means, there is no creditable case against the accussed for a conviction.
Are we to believe that a known person of interest for the past 35 years would be dumb enough to still be in possession of the "smoking gun" used to commit the alleged crime? That person would be an idiot or has the desire to be caught.
My question for openers, What was the motive.What did this person hope to achieve . Why did he do it.
Opportunity. Did he have the opportunity to set this fire without detection of working employees . Was he in fact an on duty employee who certainly would have the opportunity as well as motivation. Did he have access to the undetectable accelerant that was alleged to have been used? These are the question I have regarding a successful conclusion to this Cold Case.


Anonymous said...

After that many years on the run, a perpetrator may get complacent. Some may think a cold case suspect would want to get caught for the sake of relief, but I'd imagine the longer you go, the less careful you are. A person might even convince himself that he didn't do it. It's amazing what a criminal mind is capable of.

Who knows what they found? There won't be anything mentioned on that until/unless there's an arrest (and maybe after that, depending on the evidence). I hope, for the sake of all involved, that this ends soon. The families of the victims deserve some sort of answer after all these years. On the other hand, if this "person of interest" is not a suspect, I hope he can be exonerated properly and in a timely fashion.

SCATS said...

To Patty Rourke ~~ I think the reason he is a person of interest has been spelled out VERY clearly by media several times since this cold case investigation began. If you really do not know, feel free to explore the archives on this BLOG, related pages posted on Facebook (Holiday Inn Fire Truth 1978) or research it on Google.

To 10:37AM ~~ I suggest you also read through the pages I noted for Patty Rourke.

To 11:21AM ~~ I agree that the families deserve closure. And the perpetrator deserves life in prison.

Let us not forget that our former police chief Rahn was able to remain in-charge for many years while covering up his own crimes, as well as those of several others. It's Greece, NY where the Town Supervisor can have a scandalous affair with a homicide victim, not tell police and then get re-elected following a $1 million into police corruption that destroyed (supposedly)community trust! Would it REALLY be shocking to discover the fire chief set this fire (and possibly others) but retained his position all of these years? I don't think so!

Anonymous said...

10:37 Motive Hero Complex. Plain and simple.

And we have had evidence from the start. But no incontrovertible proof. Maybe they have remedied that situation.

Means was that he had just done a review of that facility. More than competent.

Opportunity speaks for itself. It was at night. It was easy to do. Quick. Would never have been evident to the sleeping guests. The plan was probably to save everyone. Guess he didn't plan that too well. Whoever did it I mean. Not mentioning any names.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, but I think I will pass and instead rely on my personal recollection of that terrible incident.
In those days, people interviewed regarding the alledged crime were given two designations. They were a person with knowledge or PK or a suspect. The term person of interest was coined to skirt Miranda and to span the gap between PK and Suspect. This was done to satisfy inquiries from the media and others who inquire as to the status of the ongoing investigation as well as avoiding legal liability law suits.
Example; as an investigator you believe you may have developed a suspect but need more. The person of interest in fact is the suspect but has been cooperating with the investigators. Once the PI gets the feeling that he may in fact be a suspect, and asks the investigators if they consider him a suspect, they must know tell him if he is in fact a suspect. If the answer is Yes, Miranda instantly applies before he speaks another word, asks for a lawyer or waives his rights,continues to talk and possibly admits his role in the crime.
The point is just this. Absent a signed confession,the investigating agency is still obligated to identify and prove the elements of a crime as spelled out in the NYS Criminal Proceedure Law or CPL in order to make an arrest and prove the case in a court of law and convict the suspect.
As a PK, I can definately say that Philips to this date, has never been told he was A SUSPECT by any law enforcement agency . However, depending on what they recently uncovered that could change.

Anonymous said...

2:5 You are obviously not in possession of the true facts that existed at the time. It wasn't the fire department that did the inspection a short time before the fire, it was the building department inspectors and the FIRE MARSHAL not the the fire chief, Philips was only a volunteer at the time not the chief. Your interpretation of MEANS is way off. Means refers to the method and materials used to commit the crime
Reconsider motive to classify the fire as an arson that is contained in the fact that who actually did the site inspection and gave management the thumbs up. Think about it and you might want to look under THE RUG.

SCATS said...

To 7:44AM ~~ To quote you right back ... "You are obviously not in possession of the true facts that existed at the time." Phillips was NOT a volunteer, but a 10 yr. veteran, according to his interview with Ch. 10 that aired last night.

"I was the first person that did call the fire in, and ya know I’ve been in this business for a long time. But the part that I do not like is that they are classifying me as a young firefighter, at that time I had been on the job for 10 years and was a lieutenant, so I was a well seasoned firefighter." ~ Bud Phillips

Anonymous said...

OK so my time line on Philips made no mention of his tenure and rank. It is important to remember that back then, very few fire fighters were paid. The fact that he was a Lieutenant did not necessarily make him a paid member of Greece Ridge FD. The Chief, Butch Volkmar, was a volunteer and owned and operated his own paving business .
And yes with ten years of service, he would qualify as experienced in that field.
However you have yet to prove that I don't know more about this investigation than you as to the actual facts that existed back in '78 in your obvious attempt to discredit my remarks. You have failed in your attempt to do so because you weren't there at the time.

Anonymous said...

7:44 Never said the person doing the inspection was the "chief". You just said that. And the means to set a fire quickly is within all of us. The means to set a fire and get away with it is not. And the question was the motive for setting the fire not the motive for calling it an arson. That is the Hero Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

To 7:44 I read your post and it would seem to me that you are alluding to a cover up by town employees. Am I reading you wrong or is this what you are saying? If you are saying that the town was attempting to cover up a murder investigation knowing there have been many cover ups in this town but infer this would be criminal. I find it hard to believe any town official would get involved in something like that. Your reference to the rug led me to think this. Still your comment made me wonder and and try to figure out what the cover up was.There is no denying the fatalities They are not protecting Philips so my question to you is if you really are saying a cover up exists perhaps you would confirm this to me and what the hell the coverup would be.I and per haps others would like to hear from you on this blog in this regard. Other wise your comments are not creditable, Of course I. Could be wrong about your intent. Curious

Anonymous said...

It's not one fire but many that are in question during this timeframe. HI being the most newsworthy, because it's the only with fatalities. I believe, as many others, that the truth will be found by investigating with equal enthusiasm, the other fires called in by this individual as a "coincidental" first responder! Coincidence is rarely proven as fact when over the course of too many incidences, the same individual happens to be there first.

Anonymous said...

When was the plaza fire at Ridge & Fetzner?
What was the official finding on the cause of that fire?

Wasn't that the same Fire Marshall & Building Dept Inspector as the Holiday Inn?

Seems like I recall a statement from the Town after that fire that no business would ever again be allowed to be conducted in the basement level of that plaza.

Anonymous said...

1:06 Your post is indicative of the complexity of the English language . One of which is words that are spelled the same but can have different uses and meaning.
In this case, the word means has three such uses, as a noun as an adjective or a verb. This is a common mistake made by everyone at one time or another.
The usage I was referring to regarding elements of a crime is .the use of the word means as a noun, refers to the methods, instruments ,objects etc., used by the perp to achieve the desired result of the crime. Example, gun , knife, explosives or as in this case the accelerant used to set the fire.I believe in your post, your inpretation of means fits the actionable use of the word as verb.
In a criminal action, this word could be applied to the element of intent and motivation for the purpose of placement of the correct classification of the crime. In other words, did the perp mean to commit the crime for the purpose of a successful out come. This could effect intent and motive.

SCATS said...

To 9:51AM ~~ I love reading your authoritative posts using all of that fancy cop-speak, especially when you try to school someone on English and do it using words like: "inpretation"!

Anonymous said...

To 2:55 I understand your confusion and I meant to imply a cover up took place. There are different degrees of cover ups. One, simply make it go away. Two, the bell has already been rung so the first choice is impossible So faced with that fact and the fact that to what extent a town would be involved regarding charges if negligence , there is another way, This way we have already witnessed in the Auburger GPD scandals. That method which has been used many times in the county, is to deflect the blame and place it on a third party successfully I might add.
In the case of HI, this method was implemented as the town had a hand in the game. That hand was represented by the fact that town building inspectors and fire Marshall's inspected the building a short time before the fire and even though serious safety violation were found liked blocked fire exists,issued a certificate of compliance based on a promise by management to correct the problems ASAP.
The fire takes place. firefighters find out that the violation still existed two weeks later. oh oh! Begin damage control. One problem though, how?
In the after math, HI was on the hook due to the lose of life with lawyers all over them.However, because of the town screw up earlier, the town would negligent as well.The light bulb goes off. Declare it an arson thereby letting the town legally off the hook.Great! One big problem. The agencies called in to check for an arson declared it a natural occurring fire caused by
flammable substances located in a storage area which was identified as the source of the fire by spontaneous combustion of chemical fumes in that small space.
A short time later, Supervisor Riley hires and flies in an expert from NYC. He goes to the by now totally compromised fire scene and immediately declares it an arson caused by an accelerant that leaves no trace after burned. Really? Then how was he able to detect it.? So now this a multiple murder investigation. As we know Philips was already a suspect so blame him. The town now has a scape goat and because it was an arson, the safety violations were not relevant.
I think cover up is not applicable here. The word conspiracy best fits between two parties, the town supervisor and the chief of police,

Anonymous said...

Scats I was merely trying to explain to the person I was addressing, not you, why he was mistaken about the use of a word that is important to make the case for a crime. As for cop speaks it's actually legalese. Actually, some of it is right out of my law book on criminal prosecution in the state if New York. As for the misspelling you conveniently picked out of my factual post. Hey , Im only human and as such we ALL make mistakes. Wouldn't you agree?

SCATS said...

To 2:11PM ~~ A very basic lesson in life I learned as a kid was that if I'm going to try to "correct" someone else, I best go about it with perfection. It's a good lesson ;)

Anonymous said...

My opinion is they believe he did it but don't have the evidence to do it without a confession, so there gonna get him on something else. Like falseifying a document or something like that.

Oh and by the way rumor has it four days before the search of the firehouse, they searched Butch's house.

Anonymous said...

11:26 Didn't think you had the balls to post my last comment as sometimes the shoe fits and the truth hurts.
2:11

SCATS said...

To 10:17AM ~~ I guess you don't know me well enough to be able to forecast my behavior ... no surprise there!

By the way, when you don't sign a comment, HOW am I to know WHAT your last comment was???