Rescued Tarentum mom set fire, police say
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.