DuBOIS — According to an affidavit of probable cause, the actions of Steven M. Rode, who is being charged in connection with a string of arsons, indicate a motive of excitement and psychological disorder. Charges were filed Thursday against Rode, of Sykesville, who is charged with setting fire to his place of work four separate times.
Rodes was interviewed by police the night of Jan. 21, the night of the final fire he is accused of setting. Rode, according to the affidavit, loved working for Fayette Resources of DuBois, an assisted living facility for mentally disabled individuals, but felt he did not receive recognition he deserved.
Rode told police that he set four fires in the facility’s laundry room over the course of one week this month. The first, the affidavit states, occurred on Jan. 14, when Rode says he lit dryer lint on fire inside of a baseboard heating unit.
The affidavit states Rode extinguished the fire with a glass of water. The second fire occurred shortly after midnight on Jan. 15, and was put out by the Sandy Township Fire Department after causing minimal damage.
He told police he started the second fire by igniting a cardboard insect glue trap in the laundry room. Rode received praise from his employers for his response to those fires, according to the affidavit, and set subsequents to earn more.
The third and fourth fires occurred the night of Jan. 21. Rode, per the affidavit, said he started the third by igniting clothing he poured alcohol on inside of a dryer.
Owen Samuels, another employee, found the fire and put it out with a fire extinguisher. Samuels removed the clothing from the dryer, and the building’s four residents were then evacuated.
After the evacuation, the affidavit states, Samuels re-entered the building and observed smoke once more. Rode told police he had set fire to the same clothes again piled them against a wood-paneled partition wall in the laundry room.
The Sandy Township Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, and requested the Pennsylvania State Police assist in determining its cause. The PSP determined each fire was the result of arson.
Rode is being charged in the Magisterial District Court of Judge Patrick N. Ford’s with three counts of arson endangering persons, one count of causing or risking catastrophe, one count of criminal mischief, one count of recklessly endangering another person and one count of disorderly conduct. A date for a preliminary hearing has not yet been set.