Man Charged With Torching House

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WEST MAHANOY TOWNSHIP -- A man accused of setting two fires in Schuylkill County earlier this month told police he did it because he was having a bad day.

Earlier this month an empty double block house was consumed by fire in William Penn, near Shenandoah. Investigators said it was deliberately set.

Scott Kendricks is charged with arson and risking a catastrophe. He's free on bail.

Kendricks lives a short distance from the house police said he set on fire.

Court papers quote Kendricks as saying he was having a bad day. That he was fighting with his parents, drinking heavily and admits setting the fire.

Kendrick's neighbor, Dawn Benjamin remembers the night of the blaze.

"Having two babies in the house, it was very scary, having to wake up. My dad woke us all up to make sure we were ready in case the flames came over this way, this way we'd be out of the house."  Dawn Benjamin said.

Leiloni Benjamin lives with her sister Dawn. She said she too was scared the night of the fire.

"We look at that house every day and we say, 'boy, are we lucky, that it didn't jump over to the kids.'"

Leiloni is surprised her neighbor was arrested.

"He always helped with the kids, like if we needed help for anything, you know, if we didn't have money for diapers for the children, he would get the money and help us, so I can't say anything bad about him."

Neighbor Bob Yeager said he always had his suspicions.

"I don't know the lad but we figured it had to be somebody close by because that time of the morning close by because that's all in the bushes there."

After the arson, a vacant house nearby was torn down. Township supervisors called it an eyesore and a potential target for arsonists.

William Penn has a history of arsons. Five years ago the village had five consecutive deliberately set fires. No arrests were ever made.