Pa. Man Guilty in Fire That Nearly Killed Firefighter

May 8, 2013
A Jeanette man pleaded guilty to starting several fires, including one that nearly cost a firefighter his life when a window burst a window causing a laceration to his neck.

May 08--A Jeannette man was sentenced Tuesday to 18 to 36 months in prison for setting a fire that nearly took the life of a city firefighter.

John Raymond Horne, 22, entered a general plea before Judge Debra Pezze in connection with four arsons in a string of 20 that put Jeannette residents on edge until six suspects were arrested in September.

City fireman James Swartz suffered a laceration to his neck when a window burst during a Feb. 3, 2012 fire along Chestnut Street. Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro read a letter from Swartz during Horne's hearing.

"I remember seeing blood spurting from my neck," Swartz's letter said. "I honestly thought I was going to die."

Swartz was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital for a treatment and still has a scar.

"We hope they realize the severity of what they've done," he said in the letter.

Pezze ordered Horne to receive mental health treatment. Horne declined to speak when Pezze gave him an opportunity.

Horne pleaded guilty to starting fires on Sept. 3, 2009, along Chambers Avenue; Nov. 22, 2011, at 420 Division St. Rear; Feb. 3, 2012, at 324 Chestnut St.; and Feb. 16, 2012, at 420 Division St.

Authorities arrested six people in mid-September, alleging their involvement in nine of the 20 arsons. Horne is the fourth suspect to be sentenced.

--Christopher Allen Jones, 23, of Manor, was sentenced last week in a 2008 fire to three years of intensive supervision and six months under house arrest with electronic monitoring.

--Horne's half brother Jeffrey Robert Tierney Jr., 24, of Jeannette, was sentenced to serve one year less a day to two years less a day in prison and three years' probation in connection with four fires.

--A juvenile charged in one fire began a fire-setting rehabilitation program in October.

Two suspects in the arsons are awaiting action in their cases:

--Richard Allen Adair Jr., 28, of Jeannette faces arson charges for three fires -- on Aug. 24, 2010, at 212 N. Fifth St.; Oct. 19, 2011, at 416 S. Sixth St.; and Nov. 18, 2010, at 118 N. Fifth St. He will seek to have his bond reduced in a May 13 hearing.

--His brother, Roger William Adair, 27, of Jeannette faces arson charges in three fires -- on Sept. 3, 2009, along Chambers Avenue; Feb. 3, 2012, at 324 Chestnut St.; and Nov. 18, 2010, at 118 N. Fifth St. A September trial is scheduled.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or [email protected].

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