ShareThis Page
News

Rescued Tarentum mom set fire, police say

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

A woman who was rescued from her burning home in Tarentum intentionally started the fire in an attempt to kill herself and her two young children, police said Tuesday.

Terra M. Lynn, 36, was having problems with a pending divorce, Allegheny County police Lt. Jeffrey Korczyk said.

"She made no attempt to leave the house after the fire was started," he said.

Korczyk said detectives noticed a strong smell of gasoline on Lynn's clothing when they were talking with her at West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield, where she and her 8-year-old son were treated for smoke inhalation. Her 11-year-old daughter suffered burns on her feet.

A police dog detected an accelerant, believed to be gasoline or kerosene, at the scene, police said.

Lynn was placed in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $75,000 straight cash bond and was to undergo a behavioral evaluation.

The children are in the custody of their father.

Korczyk said the fire was ignited early Monday in several locations in the basement and second floor of the house on Bakerstown Road. The fire was reported about 1 a.m.

Summit Hose Company Assistant Chief Michael Remper, the first to arrive, said he saw flames coming from the basement and second floor and heard the children screaming from upstairs.

Remper said he ran through flames to get to Lynn and her children and handed the kids to Brackenridge police Officer Mike Duffy.

Remper, the father of an 8-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter, said it was heartbreaking to hear that Lynn is accused of starting the fire.

"I've been thinking a lot about it and what could've happened to me. I could've died myself," he said. "I'm still happy we got everybody out safe. That's all I cared about."

A female tenant in the building escaped unharmed.

Lynn was charged with three counts of criminal attempted homicide and recklessly endangering another person, two counts of endangering the welfare of children and one count each of arson, criminal mischief, and risking a catastrophe.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18 before District Judge Carolyn Bengel.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me