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“We’ll See Who Leaves”
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

Hereford Township Man Accused of Arson

            A Hereford Township man faces arson and related charges after he allegedly set fire to the trailer he lived in on Seisholtzville Road June 9.

            Fire crews arrived at the scene at 5:08 a.m. to find flames shooting out of the

the roof of the residence, smoldering debris in the front yard and smoke emitting from a metal barrel outside, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

            The affidavit states that Richard Roy Younger, 53, who rented the trailer, allegedly started the fire on the property after an argument with the property owner, who lived in a different portion of the residence. The owner told police that Younger asked him for some kerosene around midnight. He said that he and Younger had gotten into an argument that night and Younger told him, "We'll see who leaves."

            Around 5 a.m., the property owner said he woke to the sound of explosions and observed explosions and fire in the front yard of the property. He told police that he saw Younger standing in his doorway watching the explosions and fire. The owner called 911 when he noticed smoke coming from the roof of the residence. He said that Younger was still standing in the doorway when he saw the trailer start to catch fire, the affidavit states.

            Younger fled the scene and told the owner not to tell police he started the fire, according to court documents.

            Around 5:40 a.m., fire crews and state police requested a fire marshal to respond to the scene to conduct an origin and cause investigation. State Police Fire Marshal Janssen Herb determined multiple areas of origin existed, which is indicative of intentionally set fires. He wrote in the affidavit that he "determined … all of the fires were intentionally set with an open flame to combustible materials or vapors."

            Authorities declared the structure on Seisholtzville Road, near the intersection with Hunter Forge Road, a total loss and estimated the damage at $75,000, according to a state police release.

            Police interviewed Younger around 11:20 a.m. June 9 after locating him down the street from the residence. Younger told police that he went to bed around 10 p.m., but woke up at some time during the night and burned items in a metal barrel outside the residence. He said he used kerosene and a disposable lighter to ignite papers in the barrel.

            Younger said he then fell back asleep and woke up to find the interior of the house on fire. According to the affidavit, Younger "admitted that he knew the fire in the residence to be intentionally started, but was unable to explain who caused it."

            Younger said he did not know where the kerosene container was located, and that he must have thrown it. But he later told police that he was confused and could have taken the container inside the residence, the affidavit states.

            Younger was arrested at 12:10 p.m. June 9. He is charged with aggravated assault, arson-danger of death or bodily injury and arson of an inhabited structure or building – all first degree felonies – as well as criminal mischief, a third degree felony, and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

            Kim L. Bagenstose, the Hamburg district judge who arraigned Younger on June 9, set bail in the case at $100,000 monetary. The defendant was remanded to Berks County Jail after failing to post bail.

            A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for June 14 in the court of District Judge Michael Hartman.

            A fire police officer from the Pennsburg Fire Company tripped and cut his leg while directing traffic during the incident. He was treated and released.





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