Arson Charges Filed After Luzerne County Fire

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WYOMING — A man was arrested Friday and charged with setting fire to his own apartment in Luzerne County last weekend.

Authorities accused Kennith Searfoss, 28, of setting a fire Saturday inside his own apartment along Wyoming Avenue in Wyoming.

After Searfoss was handcuffed and read his rights, officers said he claimed he set the fire because he wanted to take his own life.

After he was released from a multi-day psychological evaluation at a hospital in Wilkes-Barre, Searfoss was arraigned at a district magistrate’s office in West Pittston on seven charges Friday morning, including arson risking death or bodily injury, as well as cruelty to animals.

Wyoming Borough Police told Newswatch 16 that Searfoss was under the influence of alcohol when he set the blaze and that his cat was found dead in his apartment after the fire was extinguished.
A state police fire marshal determined that a fire was intentionally started in Searfoss’ kitchen and his living room.

A neighbor who lives near the apartment on Wyoming Avenue said that Searfoss harassed him about his pets, and that he is relieved that charges were filed.

"He yelled at me about my dogs, and my dog doesn't even leave the yard, so I don't know what his problem is,” said Earl Bailey. “If he'll do this, he'll come over and set somebody else's house on fire. It's a good thing that he was arrested. If he did it because he wanted to kill himself, why didn't he stay in the house with the cat, if the cat is dead?"

A man who was rescued from his second-floor apartment said he is doing okay and that another tenant who was displaced after the fire has been able to move back in.

Searfoss is being held at the Luzerne County Jail on $50,000 bail.