Zak Waives Hearing in Arson Case

CLEARFIELD – A Mahaffey man has been accused of intentionally setting his family’s home on fire.

Ronald Kevin Zak, 42, has been charged by Trooper Kathleen L. Watters, deputy fire marshal, of the Punxsutawney-based state police with two felony counts of arson.

He’s also been charged with felony counts of reckless burning or exploding and criminal mischief, plus a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person.

Zak waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. His bail is currently set at $75,000.

The charges stem from a fire Jan. 10 at 346 E. Main St., in Mahaffey Borough, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed with the office of Magisterial District Judge James Glass.

Zak resided at the home with his wife and four adult children, and they planned to purchase it. However, there wasn’t anyone at home at the time of the fire.

Witnesses first saw flames in a second-story window, then Zak’s wife told investigators that her husband had been drinking and was angry when he left around 4 p.m.

Zak’s wife and adult children left shortly after 5 p.m., and they all met each other again later that day in Rural Valley, Pa, where an argument over believed infidelity continued.

At 8:20 p.m., Zak called his wife saying he was back at the house in Mahaffey. The first 911 call to report the fire was received at 8:39 p.m., state police said.

During an interview with fire investigators, Zak allegedly admitted that he was the last one inside the home and to being on the second floor.

He also allegedly admitted to smoking four or five cigarettes and intentionally “flicking” the burning butts on the floor near a mattress in the hallway.

Zak said he left the house knowing that he should have gone back. State police said the home was a complete loss with the entire structure collapsing into the basement.

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