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Tamaqua man pleads guilty to arson after trying to burn mold from walls

Published August 16. 2018 12:36PM

A Tamaqua man who attempted to burn mold from the walls and floors of his apartment, setting the building on fire on Feb. 24, 2016, has admitted to arson and risking a catastrophe.

Brian K. Haas, 50, pleaded guilty to the charges in Schuylkill County court. He also pleaded to a Feb. 17, 2014, charge of disorderly conduct.

President Judge William E. Baldwin deferred sentencing to allow Haas to provide proof of inpatient treatment.

Tamaqua police and firefighters were dispatched to 409 W. Broad St. at 1:38 a.m. Feb. 24, 2016, for a smoke detector activation in Apt. 1.

Smoke billowed from the apartment, but the man who had locked himself inside told firefighters to go away.

Police forced the door open and found Haas inside.

He refused to leave and had to physically be removed from the smoke-filled apartment.

There were no flames but firefighters found a pile of burned clothes and burn marks on the floors and walls, and a hole burned through one area of the floor.

Haas told police he was trying to get rid of mold.

He lit a piece of paper, then threw it on the mold to try to burn it out.

A pile of clothing and a baseboard caught fire.

Tamaqua patrolman Thomas Rodgers charged Haas with three felony counts of arson, a felony count of risking a catastrophe, and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and criminal mischief after the incident.

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