Man calls 911 to say he set house on fire during a “controlled burn”

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – Lancaster Police say 55-year-old Dennis Deandrea, of Elma, called 911 to report he set an empty home he owns on fire. A Lancaster detective tells News 4 Deandrea told the 911 dispatcher he was conducting a “controlled burn.” The bizarre story dates back to April 2013.Dennis Deandrea

When police and fire showed up they found the homeowner sitting in an office chair near a tree watching the empty, boarded up house burn. Police say last April there was a suspicious fire at the same address on 6216 Broadway, but they couldn’t prove it was arson. Police say back then, Deandrea filed an insurance claim but was denied.

Fast forward to Thursday night, police suspect Deandrea was upset about last year’s developments and decided to take matters into his own hands. No one was living at the two family home. No one was hurt.

Deandrea was charged with reckless endangerment but they couldn’t charge him with arson because there’s no insurance currently on the property. In other words, police say Deandrea didn’t do it for the money. Police say the man knew he was wrong and wanted to prove a point.

It’s unclear how the fire started but police say he was talking about a cigarette or cigar. The property isn’t close to any other homes and is near a cemetery. Deandrea was arraigned Thursday night. He was also taken to ECMC for pain he was complaining about. He couldn’t make the $5,000 bail set in Lancaster so he was brought to the holding center.

His next court date is April 29th at 11 a.m. in the Town of Lancaster.

The included video is courtesy of Jim Wieberg. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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