Pa. Firefighter Arrested on Arson Charge

BIG RUN, Pa. --

State police in Jefferson County have confirmed with WJAC-TV that a volunteer fireman was arrested in connection with an arson investigation in Big Run.

State police investigators said Anthony Overbeck, 18, of Big Run, was arrested and charged with arson, burglary and other charges. Officials said Overbeck is a volunteer firefighter with the Big Run department.

Overbeck was arrested after two fires at a home in the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. State police and officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Overbeck admitted to the crimes while he was at the fire station overnight.

The first fire was set around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when police said someone broke into the vacant home and set fire to two rooms in the basement. Several hours later, the house was set fire to again.

Officials said Overbeck said that he left his house on Tuesday with a lighter, plastic bottle packed with napkins soaked with vegetable oil and a pry bar. Investigators said Overbeck told them how he set the fire at the Pennsylvania Avenue home, which is not far from where he lives.

Police said no one was in the home when the fires started and there were no reported injuries. Overbeck was transported to the Jefferson County Prison.

Big Run has been the location of about a dozen suspicious fires, two of which were set at the same house on Caroline Street as well as Big Run Carpet, two abandoned homes and several brush fires.

State police said more information was expected to be released Thursday.

Overbeck has not been charged with any other arsons in the county. Anyone with information about any of the arsons is asked to call Pennsylvania State Police at 814-938-0510. Callers can remain anonymous and a $2,500 reward is being offered.

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