Firefighter arrested for arson

Jan. 10, 2012 at 3:43 PM

ELIZABETH, Pa., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania 911 dispatcher and volunteer fireman accused of arson says he was trying to commit suicide, police said.

Jeremy Robert Zink was arrested Monday after he allegedly admitted to setting fire last month to the home he was renting in Elizabeth, Pa., about 15 miles south of Pittsburgh.

He told police he was trying to commit suicide by setting himself on fire.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Zink is charged with arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

As a member of the Blaine Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Zink was paged to the scene. At the time, he was also supposed to be on shift at the 911 center.

Police say Zink agreed to polygraph testing and admitted to trying to kill himself. He said he couldn't find a knife, so he decided to set himself on fire by using the stove to ignite a pizza box. Zink said he changed his mind about killing himself and tried to smother the flame with a plastic bucket and left, assuming the fire had been put out.

A pre-trial hearing is set for Jan. 18. Zink is jailed in Allegheny County on $100,000 bail.

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