Two men charged in Scranton arson-for-hire plot


SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Two men are facing charges tonight in connection with a deadly fire in Scranton in late June.

Prosecutors are now calling the case an arson-for-hire investigation.

The owner of the home that burned and the father of the man killed are both behind bars.

Police say the case is all about greed.

Investigators say Chad Kenowski, the owner of a home on Roosevelt Street, had an agreement with the man who died to burn the place down.

In a shocking twist, the father of the man who died, is now also charged.

Chad Kenowski was brought to the Scranton Police Department Tuesday afternoon and charged with second degree murder and aggravated arson charges.

“No. I would never do anything,” Kenowski said as he was led into his arraignment when he was asked if he was trying to collect insurance money.

Police say the 49 year old had an agreement with 26 year old Brett Sweeting Junior to burn down his own on Roosevelt Street in order to collect insurance money.

“The case is very unique and disturbing, deeply disturbing,” Scranton police chief Carl Graziano said.

On June 25, just before 2:00 AM, the home on Scranton’s East Mountain caught fire.

Brett Sweeting Junior was found dead inside with house keys right next to him.

Investigators think something went wrong.

“The gasoline vapors probably mixed with oxygen and there was an explosion inside the residence,” Sgt. Marty Monahan, the Scranton fire marshal said.

What makes this crime even more unusual is that Brett Sweeting Senior, the father of the man who died, is also now charged.

Police think he drove to the scene with his son from Williamsport, acting as a lookout and getaway driver but when the explosion happened, the father panicked and left his son inside dying.

“To me as a father, it shocks the conscious that a father would allow their son, to number one, be involved in something like this and be involved with their son and secondly to drive away while their son was in a burning building,” Chief Graziano said.

Police say when Chad Kenowski originally put his home up for sale several years ago, he wanted $300,000 for it but recently planned to sell it for only about half of that.

Right after the fire, Kenowski allegedly filed an insurance claim and the total damages amounted to $333,000. Kenowski denies any wrongdoing. 

“I had nothing to do with the entire thing,” Kenowski said.

Chad Kenowski is the owner of a yoga studio in the city of Scranton. He also goes by the name “Chad Clark” for his business.

Police say they have him on recorded conservations saying he wanted to make it appear that the fire started because of a faulty mini-van in the garage that had a recall that was never acted on.

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