Springfield Township police arrested three teens accused of setting two houses on fire. In one of the cases, a firefighter was left dangling and had to be rescued after a floor collapsed.
William Conley, 18, of Akron, Mickey Thrasher, 18, of Springfield Township and a 15-year-old boy from Springfield Township were charged with aggravated arson and breaking and entering.
Police said the trio started a fire at a vacant house on Celia Avenue on December 5 and torched another vacant house on Carper Avenue on May 1.
In the most recent case, Michael Marias, a Springfield Township firefighter and paramedic, lunged to hang onto a first-floor wall and closet after the floor beneath him dropped to the basement where the fire was started.
"Just that feeling of that floor bowing underneath you and then dropping is just a sickening feeling," Marias said. "It's fight or flight and you're scrambling to do what you can to make sure you're not hurt."
Two other firefighters grabbed Marias' coat and gear and pulled him from the hole and dragged him to the front porch.
Marias said he could have been burned or suffered other serious injuries, including broken bones, if he had dropped six to eight feet to the basement.
"Without them being there, there's no doubt I would have fallen into that basement."
Springfield Township Police Chief David Hoover said that Conley was listed as a witness during the December fire and even called 911 to report the blaze.
However, during the course of the investigation, detectives determined that Conley and the other two teens set the fires.
All three were arrested over the last week and they confessed, police said.
Hoover said the teens are also possible suspects in two unsolved car fires in the township and Akron police are investigating whether they had any involvement in a recent string vehicle fires.