A Portage woman who authorities said burned down her house while she was on stimulants will answer arson charges in Cambria County court.
Jennifer Lynn Yatsky, 32, is accused of setting fire to her home on Whiskey Springs Road in Summerhill Township on April 17.
Township police said Yatsky told them she set the fire because she was having a bad reaction to synthetic stimulants known as “bath salts.”
Yatsky waived her right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Judge Galen Decort of Portage. Yatsky appeared with her attorney, Thomas Dickey of Altoona.
She is charged with arson, causing a catastrophe, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.
In a court document, police quoted Yatsky as telling a Cambria 911 dispatcher, “I’m calling from across the street. The house is on fire. I lit my house on fire because I need help. Because I need to go somewhere to get help.”
Yatsky then tells the dispatcher she set fire to the living room.
“I poured gasoline on clothes and turned the torch on,” the affidavit of probable cause filed by police quotes her as saying.
Dickey brushed aside the statements.
“We’re still looking into that,” he said. “You’re not aware of all the circumstances surrounding the statement.”
No one was injured in the blaze, which brought 39 firefighters from six volunteer companies to the scene along with two EMS units, police said.
Yatsky remains free on bond.
Cambria County Assistant District Attorney Scott Lilly declined comment.
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