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Lansford man sentenced for arson

Published October 23. 2013 05:00PM

A Lansford man admitted setting a fire in the borough last October and was sentenced to a county prison term on Tuesday.

Erick Stephen Mack, 32, pleaded guilty before Judge Joseph J. Matika to one count each of arson, risking a catastrophe, and recklessly endangering another person. In a plea bargain, seven counts of arson, and other charges including retaliation against a witness or victims, recklessly endangering and unsworn falsification to authorities were dropped.

Mack was charged by Lansford police with setting a fire at 332 W. Patterson St., on Oct. 19, 2012.

The fire was reported at 10:10 p.m. when firefighters were dispatched to a dwelling fire at 332 W. Patterson St. On scene a fire was found in an alleyway between 330 and 332 W. Patterson St. Althrough the fire had extended to both homes, it was contained to 332 W. Patterson St. Both homes, however, sustained damages.

The damaged rental home at 322 W. Patterson is owned by Elaine Giltner. Giovanni Casuccio was the owner and resident at 330 W. Patterson St.

The investigation revealed the fire started on a side porch where police found a melted plastic gasoline can.

Mack at first denied any involvement in the fire when questioned on Oct. 19. Later the same day he returned to the polcie station and admitted he set it.

The police said Mack was involved in an incident earlier in the evening with a juvenile. When admitting his involvement in setting the fire he also admitted having a confrontation with neighbors earlier in the day.

At Tuesday's proceeding defense Attorney Matthew Rapa said his client suffers from a mental health problem which he attributed to the time he spent serving in the military. Mack spent time in a inpatient rehabilitation program when he was furloughed from the county prison. After completing the program he returned to the prison.

Mack expressed remorse for what he did.

Matika sentenced him to serve six to one day less 24 months in the county prison on the arson count, three to 12 months on the risking charge, and three to 12 months on the recklessly endangering, all running concurerntly. He was also ordered to make total restitution of $15,996.38 for damages done by the fire, get a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, supply a DNA sample, and zero tolerance for drug and alcohol use.

He was given credit for a total of 115 days spent in jail and for time in the rehab program.

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