Sandy Township, PA – A Sykesville man is accused of setting four fires at a Fayette Resources house, a group home for people with disabilities.

Police say 23-year-old Steven Rode confessed to a series of fires at the home on Arminta Street in Sandy Township, which is owned by Community Connections of Clearfield and Jefferson Counties.

First an electrical issue and fire occurred during the evening hours Jan. 14 inside the facility. It didn’t require a fire department response, but Penelec was notified.

Then on Jan. 15, a second fire started in the basement laundry room during the early morning hours. Sandy Township firefighters were able to contain the fire with minimal damage.

Finally, a third fire was also started in the basement laundry room inside of an operating dryer during the evening of Jan. 21. Staff members extinguished the fire and evacuated the facility. Another fire occurred that evening, which involved clothing removed from the dryer during the earlier fire.

The State Police Fire Marshal was called out to investigate. In each case, the cause was determined to be arson for all of the fires.

46-year-old Brian Dodd, 29-year-old William Hankins, 39-year-old Jonathan Mariach, and 34-year-old Brandon Mottern, all of DuBois, were residents at the home during the fires. They were not injured.

Steven Rode and 28-year-old Owen Samuels were the employees on duty each time. Rode reportedly confessed to setting the fires during an interview on Jan. 22.

Police believe Rode set the fires in order to be praised and recognized by his employers for handling the situation.

Rode is facing charges for aggravated arson, arson endangering persons, causing or risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief, recklessly endangering another person, and disorderly conduct. State police are continuing the investigation.

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