ROSCOE (KDKA) – One of the residents of a Washington County apartment building that caught fire this summer, is now charged with setting it.
When a fire ripped through Central Apartments in Roscoe back on June 22, 46-year-old Tina Koskoski claimed she alerted other residents and was worried about losing her home.
She was interviewed by KDKA at the scene of the fire, saying, “Right now, I’m the one who found the first fire. Now, I found this fire. Don’t know what to do. I’m really panicked. I’m scared.”
She added, “I was thinking the same thing, ‘Oh my God, the building is going to catch on fire. I’m not going to have a place to live.’”
Five months later, Koskoski is locked up in the Washington County Jail, charged with starting that same fire.
“Initially, we thought she was the hero,” said Chief Tod Mauk, of the Roscoe Fire Department. “I guess, you know, she alert all the residents and whatnot, so I guess it was a little shocking.”
Four tenants and three firefighters were injured; nine pets perished.
The fire displaced more than 30 residents, and left the building so badly damaged that it has since been condemned.
“I just can’t believe how somebody would sit there and put other people in danger,” said Gene Terozzo, a neighbor. “Come on, it’s your own home, too.”
According to investigators, Koskoski admitted she started the fire because she was upset with nosey neighbors and alleged rampant drug use in the building.
She faces 179 counts; including causing or risking a catastrophe, arson and recklessly endangering another person.
“How can you say that you tried to get people out of the building and then turn around and confess that you started the fire?” said Cathy Lutes, another of Koskoski’s neighbors.
“Put her in jail, that’s where she deserves to be sorry, that’s just the way I see it,” said neighbor Elizabeth Foy. “You’re going to do the crime do the time.”
Watch Bob Allen’s original report:
It was the second fire at the building; there was also a smaller one the previous November. Firefighters admit it could have been a lot worse.
“We’re just glad that justice is being served and put a stop to this,” said Chief Mauk.
Koskoski is currently in the Washington County Correctional Facility, unable to post $50,000 bond and expected in court Nov. 6, according to the Valley Independent.