By Amy Marchiano, TNonline
A Lehigh County man admitted to police he set a former golf club in West Penn Township on fire in October and is now charged with arson.
Hiram Thomas Dale, 76, of Coopersburg, told the West Penn Township Police on Nov. 24 he did it because he ran into problems trying to renovate the building at 521 Golf Road, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Police, fire companies and emergency personnel from the surrounding area responded to the scene of the Villas Crossing Golf Course at 10:15 a.m. Oct. 29.
The call came in as a burn barrel on fire that ignited an adjacent building. Dale was on scene.
An investigation by State Police Fire Marshal John Burns concluded there was “incendiary in multiple locations,” where the fire started in the kitchen and crawl space in the basement. The burn barrel he supposedly used had “very little ashes inside of it and the trees and branches over the barrel were not burned or scorched,” police said. Nearby siding was also not damaged. Photos of the scene were shown to Dale that disputed his version of events.
“I started the fire. I just wanted to get rid of it,” he told police.
Richard Marek, a volunteer firefighter with the Tamaqua South Ward Fire Company, suffered a heart attack while fighting the fire, police said.
Dale is charged with arson-danger of death or bodily injury, aggravated arson, risking a catastrophe, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person.
Read the full story here.