Police: Wilkes-Barre man charged with arson over lighting couple’s house on fire

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PITTSTON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A four-months-long investigation is near an end after a Wilkes-Barre man was charged with arson on Tuesday, according to police.

Police arrested 62-year-old David Dietrick in connection to a fire on Suscon Road in late January. Pittston Township Police say when they arrived on scene they saw heavy smoke coming from the house. An couple owned the house, but were not living at the home at the time of the fire.

According to the police affidavit, a neighbor saw a man leaving the house and driving away in a silver SUV. He noticed smoke coming from the house soon after and called 911. Another witness knew the owners, and told police Dietrick had been working on improving the couple’s home.

Dietrick denied setting the fire when police first interviewed him. Police later collected the clothing he was wearing, which the witness confirmed.

Two days after the incident, police say they learned Dietrick’s wife, Lynn Dietrick, called the Duryea Borough Police Department because Dietrick was in an altered mental state and was pacing around the their apartment with a gun.

Lynn Dietrick told Pittston police she had recently learned Dietrick was a felon and he had started acting differently after he returned home from his first interview with the Pittston Police Department.

According to police, Dietrick’s wife said Dietrick had asked the owners of the Suscon Road home if he could live there while the house was empty but was denied. Police say Dietrick’s wife then asked him if he had set the home on fire in retaliation, to which Dietrick responded saying in part it was “none of her business.”

On February 25, an insurance investigator found a gasoline container in the same room the fire started, according to affidavit. The container was sent to a lab for further evaluation. The following week, the lab reported that gasoline was identified on a floor sample from the room the fire had ignited and on Dietrick’s clothes and sandals.

The afidavit stated on May 7, a finalized report was completed by the PSP fire marshal and that “all possible natural causes and accidental causes were ruled out,” and the most probable cause of the fire was an “open flame igniting a combustible” by hand.

Dietrick is facing charges of arson, recklessly endangering another person and other related charges.

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