Police are investigating a team of 15 reserve firefighters in Sicily on suspicion of starting blazes they were called to put out.
Officials in Ragusa say the team’s leader has been put under house arrest while the others are being investigated.
The Mediterranean island often sees a rise in arson fires during the summer months.
The police were tipped off by fire department officials who had noticed one team of auxiliaries was called out more often than others to work in 2013 and 2014.
The Italian government pays auxiliary firefighters the equivalent of £9 an hour to fight fires.
This summer, several arson fires have raged in Sicily and much of central and southern Italy, amid a drought and heat wave.