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Police: Jeannette man burned 4 mattresses, a couch in backyard

Renatta Signorini
| Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, 10:21 a.m.
The scene of an arson along 16th Street in Jeannette.
Renatta Signorini | Tribune-Review
The scene of an arson along 16th Street in Jeannette.
The scene of an arson along 16th Street in Jeannette.
Renatta Signorini | Tribune-Review
The scene of an arson along 16th Street in Jeannette.

A Jeannette man is accused of setting fire to four mattresses, four box springs, a couch and dry wall in his backyard last week, according to court papers.

Watson Guest, 50, told police that he knew the fire was not permitted but wanted to burn “all the trash that was laying around to get rid of it,” according to an affidavit.

Jeannette residents are not permitted to burn trash or yard waste.

Guest was jailed Wednesday on $15,000 bail on charges of arson, reckless burning, risking catastrophe, reckless endangerment and public drunkenness.

Firefighters were called to his 16th Street house at 10 p.m. Thursday and found the fire in Guest’s small backyard. Several other homes are located nearby. Police described the pile of items as about 10 to 12 feet in diameter and about 6 to 8 feet tall.

Officers noticed a strong alcohol odor and about six beer cans laying around at the scene. Guest told them he had drank two or three beers that day, police reported.

A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 11. Guest did not have an attorney listed in online court records.

Jeannette council members in March passed an ordinance allowing residents to have outdoor recreational or cooking fires, as long as the fire is contained in some type of ring or container smaller than 16 square feet and 16 inches deep.

Those fires also much be at least 25 feet from a structure, brush or wooded area and at least 15 feet from a property boundary. A water source must be readily available nearby, under the ordinance.

A bonfire for amusement purposes — defined as being larger than 16 square feet and not in a ring or container — must be approved and supervised.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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