Joseph W. Westman

Joseph W. Westman, 39, was charged with three felonies and five misdemeanors after police had to forcefully open the door to his room on Monday following reports of a man lighting things on fire inside a shared house, police said. 

A Lancaster city man is facing charges after police say officers found him standing inside a smoky room of a shared house on Monday evening after he tried to light a fire inside.

Joseph W. Westman, 39, was charged two felony counts of arson, one felony count of risking catastrophe, four misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person and a misdemeanor count for possession of a controlled substance, according to court records. 

When officers arrived to the 500 block of High Street sometime around 9 p.m., a woman who called police said she heard Westman speaking to himself in his room and saying he was going to kill all of his roommates, police wrote in the affidavit. The woman was inside the building with her 5-month-old child when Westman started trying to light a fire inside. 

Police said officers had to force their way into Westman’s room after he refused to open the locked door. Westman's room had "a higher concentration of smoke than the rest of the home," police said.

Westman was standing in the middle of the room and an officer saw black burn marks in multiple spots around the room, according to the affidavit. Westman told the officer, “this is my room, I can do what I want.” 

Officers also found suspected methamphetamine in Westman's possession during a search, police said. It was unclear how many people lived in the house. 

Westman is currently in Lancaster County Prison on $35,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 in front of District Judge Adam Witkonis.

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