By Bob Allen

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ELIZABETH (KDKA) — A sad ending for a man who had numerous brushes with the law.

Elizabeth firefighters thought the were dealing with a fire at a vacant home until they found the body of 54-year-old Kenneth James Atkinson on the back porch.

Police aren’t saying if Atkinson was squatting at the residence.

Atkinson was facing a preliminary hearing on charges of starting a fire at a home in Scottdale.

The owner said Atkinson was hired as a temporary handyman but later fired.

Police suspect he got mad and started the fire in the basement.

The occupants escaped when the smoke alarm was activated.

No one at the home wanted to talk about the fire or Atkinson.

As a result of his death, the Westmoreland County D.A.’s office had no choice but to drop the arson charge against him.

Scottdale police say Atkinson was previously arrested for petty crimes, he was considered a non violent offender with mental issues.

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