Clearfield, PA – A Clearfield man has been sentenced to up to 18 years in state prison for an apartment building arson.

41-year-old Heath Austin pleaded guilty to five counts of arson with danger of death or bodily injury, one for each person who was inside the building.

Austin reportedly admitted to investigators that he intentionally set the fire at the building on East Pine Street in Clearfield on April 3. He said he set a basket of clothes on fire because he was having financial problems.

The other residents were able to escape and the fire didn’t spread fire from Austin’s room, but there was smoke damage.

The owner of the apartments testified in court that Austin had “spent a lot of time planning this.”

Austin reportedly hadn’t paid rent and was told to move. When he got upset, they made arrangements for him to spread out the payments and continue living there.

However, Austin began moving his belongings out of the apartment. After the fire, he filed false insurance claims for items that were not there.

Austin was sentenced to 22 months to 18 years in state prison. He’ll also pay more than $77,000 in restitution to the victims and their insurance companies.

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