Police make quick arrest in suspicious Southwest Greensburg fire
Authorities made a quick arrest Tuesday in connection with an arson at a Southwest Greensburg apartment.
They were assisted by the suspect — Anthony E. Smoody, 44 — who reported to state police in Belle Vernon at 5 a.m. he started a fire at his apartment from which he was being evicted, according to court papers.
Southwest Greensburg police officers raced to Cribbs Street and evacuated 10 people out of the adjoining units amid smoke.
Smoody was arraigned about seven hours later on numerous counts of arson, risking a catastrophe, reckless endangerment and related offenses. He was being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on $150,000 bail.
Smoody apologized while he was being led away to jail.
“I’m sorry I did it,” he said. “I apologize. That’s why I turned myself in I was worried about everyone.”
After being notified by state police, Southwest Greensburg officers called for firefighters who quickly extinguished the flames in a second-floor bedroom. No one was hurt.
“Nobody was home at the time of the fire,” Southwest Greensburg fire Chief Bill Wright Jr. said.
Smoody told investigators he had been evicted from the apartment Monday and was packing up his belongings into a spare bedroom, but was concerned where he would put them and that they might get stolen, according to court papers. Smoody said he placed charcoal and papers around his belongings and poured lamp oil and lighter fluid all over the room before lighting it on fire and fleeing out a basement door, according to police.
A state police fire marshal found an empty bottle of lighter fluid in the kitchen garbage and a partially melted plastic container of lamp oil in the bedroom, according to court papers.
Smoody reported the fire to state troopers after “he went to a park and began to think about what he did,” police wrote in the complaint.
He lived at the apartment since 2017. Previously, Smoody lived in North Huntingdon.
A July 2 preliminary hearing is set.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .