Pa. firefighter accused of arson at vacant mobile home

The suspect allegedly sent a message to firefighters at another department telling them to be ready for a call moments before the blaze started

Paul Peirce
Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.

NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. — An Irwin firefighter is charged with arson after police say he sent a Snapchat message to some fellow firemen alerting them to be ready for a call moments before an abandoned mobile home was set ablaze April 27.

Shawn R. Mann, 25, of North Huntingdon, was arraigned on charges of arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment filed by township police in connection with the fire at 1190 Brookville Road.

Mann admitted sending the message to some firefighters and setting the blaze in an interview with investigators Tuesday, police Sgt. Nicholas Dreistadt said in court documents. Mann was ordered held in the county jail on $15,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled May 25.


Press Release

Posted by Irwin Fire Department on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dreistadt said multiple area fire departments responded to the 11:16 p.m. blaze and while he was on the scene, an unnamed area fire chief approached him to report some firefighters "overheard Shawn Mann talking about setting the vacant mobile home on fire."

The mobile home had long been vacant and had no connected utilities, Dreistadt said. It is owned by Mann's former employer, Schade Landscaping Inc.

Mann did not respond to fight the fire. However, Dreistadt said that an agent with state attorney general's office called him afterward to report an informant told him that Mann sent a Snapchat message to some firefighters "to get ready for a fire call."

Dreistadt said an area fire chief also reported that Mann approached him recently about burning the abandoned trailer for a training exercise, but the request was denied because of liability concerns.

Dreistadt said Mann admitted to police Detective Mark Hamilton on Tuesday that he "confessed to setting Styrofoam on fire inside the vacant mobile home and ... the route he had taken to the scene and the route he used to get back home."

Dreistadt said Mann also admitted to sending a text message to another firefighter earlier on April 27, stating he was going to set fire to the trailer at 11 p.m.

An area firefighter told police investigators that he received a Snapchat message from Mann that the fire would be set and later received another text message from him prior to the fire being dispatched by 911, asking whether "anyone had called in the fire yet?"

Irwin Fire Chief Justin Mochar could not be reached for comment.

A person who answered the phone at Schade landscaping said the firm would have no comment. The official said that Mann left the company in November.

Damage to the trailer was set at several hundred dollars.

Mann did not have an attorney listed in court documents.


(c)2021 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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