Police: Pa. man set fire to ambulance

A Scranton man is facing a slew of charges after allegedly lighting an ambulance on fire then walking away

Borys Krawczeniuk
The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Police charged a city man with starting a fire that destroyed an ambulance late Sunday evening.

Using video from multiple cameras, Scranton police fire inspector Martin Monahan tracked down Daniel Peterson, 52, of 106 S. Main Ave., Apt. 4. Peterson admitted setting a fire next to the ambulance at Pennsylvania Ambulance, 717 Capouse Ave., but would not admit to setting the ambulance on fire, according to an arrest affidavit.

Monahan charged Peterson with arson that recklessly endangers an inhabited building; arson and related offenses; criminal mischief that damages property intentionally, recklessly or through negligence using fire, explosives or other dangerous means; and recklessly endangering another person.

Firefighters arrived shortly after 10 p.m. and found flames fully engulfing the ambulance next to an ambulance garage. Crews prevented the fire from seriously damaging the garage.


Fire inspector David Megotz later found a large rock and glass inside on the driver's seat of the 2018 Ford E450 ambulance and concluded someone smashed a vehicle window, according to the affidavit.

Pennsylvania Ambulance video showed a man walking toward the ambulance, waiting six to eight minutes and then walking toward an alley, Barrett Court. The man stood in the alley and "lit something on fire in his hand," , according to an arrest affidavit. He walked toward West Olive Street and disappeared from the camera's view.

In the affidavit, Monahan wrote a Pennsylvania Ambulance employee told him Tuesday she saw a white male, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, wearing dark clothing and carrying a book bag enter the property. The man had keychains or something similar hanging from both sides of his pants, she told police, who re-watched the ambulance company video and found her description match that of the man in the video.

They could also see flames develop within six minutes of the man walking away. They used video from a city camera on the Lackawanna Heritage Trail and at two nearby businesses to track the man. Police interviewed staff a nearby local homeless shelter and mental health clinic. A mental health clinic official later called police to report Peterson was there.

From there, police took Peterson to headquarters for the interview and charged him based on what he said and the other circumstances they uncovered, according to the affidavit.

Peterson was unable to post $100,000 bail and was jailed in the Lackawanna County Prison. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 27 at 10:30 a.m.


(c)2021 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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