BUTLER CITY, Pa. (KDKA) — A man is in prison after police said he broke into a Butler City home and set it on fire after playing with his lighter.
Neighbors say the house on Broad Street in Butler City, with no electrical service, has been vacant for more than a year.
The house’s owner is out of town and rehabbing the place until he can move in, he told the police.
On Saturday morning, the house caught fire.
Jeff Harris lives up the street and saw fire trucks arrive at 6:45 a.m. It took firefighters one hour to get the blaze under control.
The house is now a boarded-up shell of what it was, sitting behind yellow crime tape.
“I looked out, and I saw the flames coming around the front door,” Harris said. “I realized it was a very serious matter.”
Police said 24-year-old Victor Weltner is responsible for the fire.
Authorities said Weltner gave them several stories about what happened inside the house before finally telling the truth.
Weltner said he was walking home after drinking and had to go to the bathroom. Weltner told police he didn’t want to go to the bathroom outside, so he broke into the house, cutting his arm on a shattered window in the process. He unlocked the door and went in.
Weltner told authorities he was in the home for more than an hour and began fooling around with his lighter. He then caught the kitchen curtains on fire.
A witness told investigators he saw a man running from the rear of the burning house. When police found Weltner, he reeked of smoke and was bleeding.
Initially, Weltner told police he was walking by the house, saw the flames and began pounding on the window to alert anyone inside, breaking it and cutting his arm.
He also said he went to the house with friends, who set the fire.
Weltner is charged with burglary and arson He is in the Butler County Prison with a bond of $50,000.