Posted by on December 3, 2020 4:07 am

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Categories: Coal Region Newswire Coal Region Newswire 2 Local News

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.

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:

  • 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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