'Bored' volunteer firefighter charged with starting fires at 2 Munhall homes
A Munhall volunteer firefighter is accused of starting fires at two homes out of boredom.
Munhall police charged Ryan Laubham, 19, of Lawrence Avenue with arson and related crimes after a fire broke out at a home in the 100 block of Crawford Avenue shortly before 3 a.m. on Monday, according to court documents. Police arrested him for setting fire to a pair of occupied homes after investigators reviewed video surveillance cameras in the borough.
When investigators confronted Laubham, he told them that he started the fires because he was bored, according to a criminal complaint filed in support of the charges.
The owner of the home was attempting to extinguish the fire on the porch of her home when emergency responders arrived at the scene, according to authorities.
The woman told police that she was sleeping on her couch in the living room when she was awakened by the fire and smoke.
While the source of the fire was being investigated a neighbor approached police and said someone attempted to set the back porch of his house on fire on Dec. 3 but he did not report the incident to authorities.
A pair of Allegheny County fire investigators who responded to the Dec. 10 incident determined that both fires were intentionally set.
Munhall police reviewed security videos from several residents along Crawford Avenue, including one in which a man who was in the alley behind the street started running after spotting the police vehicles that responded to the nearby fire.
After the cruisers passed by, the suspect ran toward Main Street and entered Munhall’s No. 4 fire station.
One of the videos obtained by police also showed the suspected arsonist leaving and then re-entering a home in the 100 block of Lawrence Street, which was later determined to be Laubham’s house.
When investigators interviewed Laubham he initially told them that he was at home on Monday night playing video games, according to court documents. When he was informed about the security videos, Laubham told police he left his house in the middle of the night to visit his girlfriend.
After additional questioning, Laubham admitted that he started Monday night’s fire with gasoline and used paper towels to set the Dec. 3 fire.
Laubham is charged with five arson related charges, two counts of causing or risking a catastrophe and two counts of criminal mischief. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail after failing to post a $200,000 bond.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or email@example.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.