Man set fire to Allegheny Co. apartment building to kill ‘parasites under his skin,’ police say

Man set fire to Allegheny Co. apartment building to kill ‘parasites under his skin,’ police say

ALLEGHENY CO., Pa. — A week after two firefighters were hospitalized while battling a blaze at an apartment complex in Bellevue, police said the person who started the fire admitted to 10 others in Allegheny County.

According to a criminal complaint, the suspect -- who is a tenant on the first floor of the building on Grant Avenue -- told investigators he set the fire intentionally to “kill the parasites under his skin.”

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That fire destroyed the apartment building, causing four families to lose their homes. Three firefighters were checked out for heat-related illnesses and two were taken to the hospital.

Police have issued a warrant for the man’s arrest. He is facing seven counts of arson; however, Channel 11 isn’t naming the suspect because he is undergoing a mental health evaluation.

Investigators said that he admitted to starting the fire, saying “he has worms crawling beneath his skin” and that he “poured gasoline on alcohol wipes (and) then lit the wipes on fire.” He allegedly told police that “the method would ensure the worms would die and give him relief.”

The suspect also told investigators that he was a heroin addict, according to the criminal complaint.

One neighbor told Channel 11 he knows all the families who lived there and they lost everything, but he also feels bad for the suspect. He said it wasn’t the first time police were called to this apartment building.

There were five apartments in the building. All four families are staying with relatives or friends.

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