Clearfield, PA – A Clearfield man is facing charges for allegedly setting fire to his apartment in order to file a false insurance claim.
First responders in Clearfield were sent to a structure fire with possible entrapment on April 3 at an apartment building on East Pine Street. Officers found several tenants already outside the building, but a deaf male, later identified as Austin, was thought to still be inside his apartment.
The fire was contained to Austin’s first floor apartment. It was quickly extinguished. A Pennsylvania State Fire Marshal investigated the case and found that the fire had been intentionally set. It reportedly started in a laundry basket filled with clothing and fuel.
Austin had filed an insurance claim saying that he had lost numerous items in the fire, including a large amount of clothing. However, when police took photos of the apartment immediately after the fire, there was no clothing in any drawers or dressers. Austin filed a claim in the amount of $34,259.20, close to the maximum that he could had filed on his policy, $36,300.
During part of the investigation on April 24, Austin reportedly admitted that he started the fire using a lighter to ignite a shirt in his laundry basket because he was having a hard time financially.