Arrested firefighter confesses to arson spree

LIMERICK, Pa. - April 29, 2010

Charles Sluzenski, 23, has been charged with setting three fires. Two were in West Pottsgrove and a third in Pottstown.

He is also being investigated in connection with several other fires.

A shackled Charles Sluzenski confessed to sparking the weekend fires as he was escorted into the courthouse on Thursday.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it," he said. "I need help. I have a drinking problem."

At around 3:00 a.m., authorities say Sluzenski was walking home from a nearby social club when he torched a home and two sheds, one of which sits on the property behind his house.

Neighbors Chris and Sam Shade were startled awake when Sluzenski began banging on their front door.

"He said 'I'm going to put on my firefighting gear and fight it,'" Sam Shade said. "I'm like, 'OK dude, go do what you have to do.'"

That part was true, as Sluzenski was a volunteer firefighter with companies in Linfield and in Spring City.

When firefighters arrived, Sluzenski allegedly approached a responding fire chief and said "Put me in chief, I'm a volunteer firefighter."

He was arrested on the spot for public intoxication and resisting arrest.

"I'm going to a say a nut job," Chris Shade said, describing Sluzenski. "He's big on being in the army and fighting fires. That's all he pretty much talked about." Sluzenski served in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 as a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

So far, no one's been injured in any of the fires.

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