Crime

Man risked ‘catastrophe’ in building housing hundreds of people, police say

A Penn State student’s alleged decision to light his shirt on fire in a residence hall has resulted in multiple felony charges.

Jedidiah W. Seinfeld, 18, lit a shirt on fire and tossed it into a trash can, according to an affidavit of probable cause. The fire caused residents of McKean Hall, which houses hundreds of students, to be evacuated through smoke. Two police officers extinguished the fire.

Seinfeld is facing charges of felony arson, felony risking catastrophe, misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

A resident assistant told police he witnessed Seinfeld throw a burning shirt into a trash can outside of Room 712. Police and firefighters investigated the room, which revealed lighter fluid and lighters on Seinfeld’s desk.

The fire caused alarms to sound off in the building.

Seinfeld later provided a written statement prior to police interview. He allegedly admitted to pouring lighter fluid on a shirt and lighting it on fire due to his unhappiness. He then panicked and threw it in a trash can.

Officers then searched his room after receiving consent from Seinfeld and his roommate.

Seinfeld was unable to post bail, according to court documents. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 15.

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