WOODLAND, Summit County — A Syracuse man who allegedly told police he was setting fires inside a vacant house so he could take pictures has been charged with arson.
Thomas Fox Shea, 48, was charged Tuesday in Summit County's 3rd District Court with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony.
On Friday, firefighters were dispatched to a report of a house fire at 3075 E. state Route 35 in Woodland. Shea received burns to his face and hands in the fire and was treated at a local hospital.
After he was released from the hospital and after initially denying he had anything to do with it, Shea admitted "that he intentionally started the fire so he could photograph it," according to charging documents.
Shea said he entered the house knowing it was vacant and started three fires using a container filled with gas, the charges state. He also brought a fire extinguisher and photography equipment with him, according to police.
"Shea stated he mounted his cellphone on a tripod to video him lighting the fires. Shea said he lit two fires in the residence and put the fires out with the fire extinguisher. Shea stated he lit a third fire in the residence and the fire got out of control," according to a police affidavit.
In 2017, Shea was convicted of two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor after child pornography was found on his laptop, according to charging documents. He was sentenced to six months in jail in that case.