Neighbor: Fire Set Over “Pooper Scooper”

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MINERSVILLE -- A fire that police considered suspicious on Thursday night is now called arson and one man has already been charged for the crime in Schuylkill County.

Minersville police said Joseph DeFalco lit his own house on fire.

Crews worked to clean up the home on North Second Street in Minersville.

The home has smoke and water damage after a fire sparked next door the evening before.

Police said Joseph DeFalco, 49, lit his own home on fire.

"I still can't believe that he did something like this," said DeFalco's neighbor.

Police said DeFalco started the fire because he was angry with his brother and sister-in-law.

"My husband had bought a pooper scooper for the yard and he thought it was his, and he said we stole it off him."

The woman said DeFalco admitted to his sister that he started the fire.

When police found DeFalco a few blocks away, he confessed to splashing the walls with gasoline and lighting them up.

"We've had several other arsons, some of which are still open, and they are difficult. So I will give him credit. At least he owned up to it," said Minersville Police Chief Combs.

According to court papers, DeFalco started the fire in the second floor of his own and the fire moved into his brother's home. His sister-in-law told Newswatch 16 there's a lot more damage to the house than they thought there would be.

"My bedroom wall needs to be replaced. They need to repaint my whole parlor and put a new floor in in my parlor."

The woman said DeFalco suffers from mental illness.

Police said there have been several incidents involving property disputes involving DeFalco in the past, so none of this was a shock.

"I knew he was getting to the point where he was going to explode. But I just didn't know how."

DeFalco is now locked up in Schuylkill County for arson, causing or risking a catastrophe, and criminal mischief.


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