Charleroi fire chief offers tip leading to arrest in Roscoe arson

October 29, 2013
Tina Koskoski

CHARLEROI – Charleroi’s fire chief provided the key clues leading to the Friday arrest in an arson this summer at a nearby Roscoe apartment building, a blaze that injured four people, including two firefighters.

Fire Chief Robert Whiten said he notified the state police fire marshal about his suspicions in the case after finding the suspect, Tina Koskoski, at the scene of an arson in the borough in September and realizing she had been arrested years ago in the town for setting fires.

“It’s just weird how over all those years you see that face,” Whiten said Tuesday, a day after Koskoski was cited yet again for arson, this time by Charleroi Regional police.

She is accused of setting a fire – when Whiten first noticed her Sept. 24 – that caused minor damage to a house at 710 Crest Ave.

“She came out of the house and I thought, ‘Man, she looks familiar,’” Whiten said.

He called over an assistant fire chief, and together they recognized her by a former name, Tina Flynn, when she had been arrested in connection with arsons in Charleroi in 2006 and 2007.

Whiten said he didn’t know the woman received a sentence then of 5 years of probation or that she was living again in Charleroi.

He also recognized her as a woman shown in news photographs as a resident of Central Apartments after it had been set ablaze June 22 in Roscoe.

Charleroi police said the state police fire marshal interviewed Koskoski Oct. 3 at the borough police station and she admitted to setting the fire on the back porch of 710 Crest.

She returned to the station for additional questioning Oct. 18 and admitted to setting the Roscoe fire at 600 Furlong Ave., in which a dog and seven cats perished, court records indicate.

Koskoski, 46, of 124 Prospect Ave., Charleroi, is charged in that case with 179 counts, including arson, reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe.

Roscoe, Elco, Stockdale and Allenport Regional police accuse her of setting fire to a mattress in the basement after being frustrated over nosey neighbors and what she believed was drug dealing taking place in the building.

“I was not wanting to hurt anyone,” she allegedly stated in the confession.

She is further accused of telling investigators she alerted her neighbors to the smoke and helped to get everyone out of the building, the affidavit states.

Koskoski, who was arrested Friday in the Roscoe fire, is in Washington County jail on $50,000 awaiting a Nov. 6 preliminary hearing in Central Court.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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