JENKINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Luzerne County man is now in custody after police say he was caught on camera starting a house fire near Pittston.
A condemned sign hangs at a home here on the 400 block of South Main Street in Jenkins Township.
It’s a reminder for neighbors like Jim Falzone of a house fire Wednesday night which was ruled arson.
“There was a woman at our door. She was telling us, ‘You better get out of your house, your neighbor’s house is on fire,” said Falzone.
Falzone and his family jumped into action as first responders were called to the scene.
“We quickly grabbed the dogs and went out the back. Got the dogs outside then I walked around to the front only to see the house was on fire, but I couldn’t see flames. All I could see was smoke,” Falzone explained.
Firefighters were at the scene for hours working to extinguish the fire coming back in the middle of the night for a rekindling.
“2:00 a.m. I was woken up to red lights flashing,” added Falzone.
Two days later, 42-year-old Jamey Lemardy of Exeter was escorted into a Jenkins Township police vehicle, accused of starting the fire.
During the investigation, Jenkins Township police say they got video surveillance from a nearby neighbor. They saw the suspect, Jamey Lemardy, enter the home at 7:24 p.m. and then exit the home just two minutes later before the fire started.
Police say a gas can was found inside the home and with the help of a state police fire marshal’s investigation the fire patterns pointed to arson.
Falzone says Lemardy’s arrest brings a sense of relief to the community.
“I just thought it was something accidental, but yeah finding out that it was deliberately started and they got the person in custody, yeah it’s very satisfying,” says Falzone.
Lemardy has been charged with more than a half-dozen arson-related counts and most of them are felonies.
His bail has been set at $125,000 while awaiting a hearing set for October 3.