Man Arrested for Setting Fire, Deaf Residents Escape Unharmed

Aurea Suarez is glad her daughter, Mahogany, is safe.

Police said someone cut the electricity to her a home in Tobyhanna and then tried to burn it down. Mahogany, is deaf and lives with three other people who also can’t hear.

“She’s afraid, she’s afraid. This is something that she didn’t expect. It’s something you would see in a movie, not in real life,” said Suarez.

Police said around 6 a.m. Thursday, Joseph Shuman of Tobyhanna, tried to set Mahogany’s home on fire by torching the front porch and rear deck.

Mahogany is the ex-girlfriend of Shuman.

Shuman told police he also removed the electric meter from the home because he knew the people were hearing impaired, and he didn’t want them to see a flashing alarm.

Police said Shuman admitted to pouring gas on the porch and lighting it with a lighter.

Mahogany, one of the victims inside the home, showed Newswatch 16 how she believes Shuman removed the meter and cut the electric from the side of the home.

The electricity is very important to the home because it’s the way the residents living there, who are deaf, know there is a fire. The alarms will flash and let out a very loud vibrating sound.

Police said Shuman was investigated for an alleged dispute with Mahogany hours before the attempted arson, but authorities said, “Police did not have any probable cause, any evidence or reason to arrest Shuman for the dispute.”

Joseph Shuman is charged with criminal attempted homicide, arson, and other charges.

He is locked up in the Monroe County Prison.

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