Accused Arsonist in Court

A volunteer firefighter in Schuylkill County accused of arson Tuesday gave up his right to a hearing.

But fire victims and his family showed up to court, some to support him others to see the man who is accused of setting two fires.

Supporters of David Berk describe someone who loved being a firefighter in Auburn. Police said that changed when Berk set two fires in his community. His arrest came as a shock to some.

“I just dropped to my knees and started praying. I didn’t know what to think. I actually didn’t get to talk to him as to what happened,” said friend Jim Folwieler.

Berk is accused of setting fire to the back porch of a house in Auburn and to the Miller family’s garage which was filled with tools and other equipment

“It kind of makes me raw because I saved all these years for getting ready to retire,” said Harold Miller.

“I don’t know why he did it to us. He shouldn’t do it to anybody but why should he do it to his neighbors?” asked Sally Miller.

Police said Auburn has another arsonist on the loose.

Police said a garage was intentionally set on fire, but David Berk was in custody at the time. Police are investigating.

“Only people didn’t know he was in jail yet, incarcerated. It would be a likely story to hang on him but he wasn’t there to hang it,” said Berk’s mother, Debbie.

Berk’s family members were in court to support him.

“He said he was sorry he did it. He doesn’t know what made him switch over and really think it through and not do it,” said Berk’s aunt Pat Barker.

A trial date for the former firefighter has not been set.

“The hardest thing to do is visit your son and leave from the jail house. That was the hardest thing we had to do was leave,” Debbie Berk added.

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