ETNA, Pa. - A 21-year-old man accused of setting an Etna home on fire was arrested Monday morning.
Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze that was reported at a duplex on Vine Street just before 1:30 a.m.
According to the criminal complaint, Alan Erb is facing several charges, including criminal mischief and arson endangering property.
The complaint said Erb told detectives that he set a blanket on fire and the fire spread. He told detectives he did this because he’s “fascinated by fire,” according to the criminal complaint.
Richard Monahan, who lives on Vine Street, told Channel 11’s Dave Bondy that he saw Erb walking down the street moments after the fire started.
“I approached him and asked him if there was anybody else in the house. He said, ‘I don’t know. What are you talking about?’” Monahan said. “I asked him again and he gave the same answer. So I said, ‘Dude, you know what I’m talking about. Those are 20-foot flames.’”
Monahan said Erb ran away, but police caught him a short time later.
“You could just tell that something wasn’t right. He wasn’t from around here. He was up to something,” Monahan said. “I’m glad they got him. I feel a little safer now.”
No one was living in the building, and Etna Fire Chief Greg Porter said city leaders were in the process of getting approval to tear the building down.
Erb, who is homeless, told investigators that he’d been living in the home for about three days
Porter said two firefighters were taken to area hospitals for general weakness after fighting flames.
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