Man who claimed puppy saved him now charged with arson

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A Springdale Borough man last night was charged with starting a fire in his residence where he had claimed that his life was saved by a pet dog.

Michael Lorish, 40, of Moyhend Street, was arraigned on charges of arson, reckless endangerment, risking a catastrophe and criminal mischief.

Allegheny County arson investigators said in an affidavit that the charges are justified for a number of reasons.

Mr. Lorish told borough firefighters that the fire started on a sofa where he had been asleep while smoking a cigarette. He told arson investigators, however, that he had been asleep on one couch when he awoke to see the other one in flames that already had spread to the walls and ceiling of the residence.

Investigators also said the fire was started with an open flame as from a match or cigarette lighter, not by a cigarette as Mr. Lorish initially claimed.

The fire was reported at 4:26 a.m. in the house that the suspect rents from a Springdale woman.

Mr. Lorish had told authorities that he had been awakened by the barking of his 9-month-old puppy.

Firefighters located Mr. Lorish's dog in the basement after the fire was put out.


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