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Seltzer Man Facing Arson Charges in Connection with Wednesday Inferno

seltzer fire main street

seltzer fire main street

State Police say a Seltzer man intentionally set a fire in the Norwegian Township village Wednesday afternoon that destroyed 2 buildings and damaged a local firehouse.

On Wednesday night, they brought 59-year-old John Jefferson before District Judge Stephen Bayer and charged him with multiple counts of felony arson and a range of other violations in connection with the events that unfolded earlier in the day.

Seltzer Man Facing Arson Charges Following Wednesday Fire

At about 3 p.m., calls for emergency services rang out to respond to a house fire in the 300 block of Main St. in Seltzer. When firefighters arrived, they found fire engulfing two structures containing 4 homes in total: 312, 314, 316, and 318 Main St.

At one point, according to multiple sources on the scene, an explosion was triggered by fireworks stored in one of the homes.

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At the scene, water shortages made containing the blaze that much more difficult. We observed tanker trucks and a temporary reservoir being created to feed water to the scene.

According to a report from The Shenandoah Sentinel, at least one dog died in the fire.

WBRE-TV reports that a neighbor across the street from the burning homes says he rescued a man from the roof of one of the buildings.

At about 6 p.m., State Police in Schuylkill Haven announced that an investigation into the cause of the blaze was ongoing. A short time later, Jefferson was arrested and taken before Bayer.

He’s currently locked up in Schuylkill County Prison on $100,000 cash bail. Jefferson’s been charged with the following in connection with the fire Wednesday:

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  • 3 counts of first-degree felony arson-danger of death or bodily injury
  • 1 count of first-degree felony arson-inhabited building
  • 4 counts of second-degree felony arson-endangering property
  • 2 counts of third-degree felony aggravated cruelty to animals
  • 4 counts of third-degree felony criminal mischief

Jefferson also faces misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.

He’s scheduled to appear in court again at 9 a.m. on Dec. 15 in front of District Judge Dave Plachko for a preliminary hearing.

Here’s video from the scene captured by The Shenandoah Sentinel:

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