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Pennsylvania Man Nearly Burns House Down Trying To Kill Spiders With Propane Torch

Altoona, PA – A Pennsylvania man who attempted to eradicate spiders from his house using a propane torch ended up setting his residence of fire and landing himself in jail, according to police.

Joshua Jenkins, 42, called 911 at about 7 p.m. on May 25 to report that his home was in danger of burning down, WTAJ reported.

When Altoona firefighters and police arrived at the residence on Logan Boulevard, Jenkins was allegedly uncooperative with them and failed to assist them in pinpointing where the fire was located, according to a criminal complaint.

An officer even had to grab a hold of Jenkins’ arm to escort him out of the residence in order to stop him from trying to block firefighters from bringing a hose into the home at one point, WTAJ reported.

The Altoona fire chief said the front door of the house was covered in plywood and boarded shut when they arrived at the scene, according to court documents.

After they used an ax to gain access, they allegedly spotted a torch sitting on the kitchen floor, the Altoona Mirror reported.

A short while later, the firefighters noticed the torch was no longer there.

Investigators said Jenkins ultimately told them he had been using a torch to set spider nests on fire outside his house because he was tired of all of the insects and arachnids he was seeing.

He allegedly told police the creatures were “infesting” his home, according to WJAC.

Police said they later executed a search warrant at the house and found the missing propane torch tucked inside a toolbox behind other tools, WTAJ reported.

Jenkins allegedly concealed the torch after firefighters spotted it in his kitchen, according to court documents.

The fire inspector noted numerous burn marks throughout the kitchen, but Jenkins denied having used the torch inside his house, WTAJ reported.

The fire inspector noted approximately 15 more burn marks on the outside portion of the home.

According to court documents, a small fire and most of the smoke was primarily located beneath the structure’s siding on an exterior wall of the kitchen, WTAJ reported.

The fire inspector said the attic area had been closed off with electrical tape and had a strong odor of smoke coming from it once they opened it up.

Fire officials told police Jenkins’ home likely would have burned down and the blaze could have spread to a commercial building next door if he had not called 911, WTAJ reported.

Jenkins was booked into the Blair County Prison on charges of arson, possession of an instrument of crime, risking a catastrophe, tampering with evidence, and multiple other offenses, according to the news outlet.

His bond was set at $75,000.

Jenkins was arraigned on May 26 and his preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place on June 7, according to the Altoona Mirror.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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