Police: ‘Hobo fire’ starts blaze at Lititz home, leads to arson charges for Lancaster County man

LITITZ, Lancaster County — Police have charged a 22-year-old Lititz man with arson-related offenses after a “hobo fire” he set in the attic caused the “total loss” of a $300,000 home last month.

Kyle Ray Hippo, of the first block of East Orange Street, is charged with arson-endangering persons and arson-endangering property in connection to the March 5 blaze, according to Lititz Borough Police.

The fire, which caused enough damage for officials to deem the home uninhabitable, began at 11:42 p.m., police say. The deputy chief of the Lititz Fire Company told police Hippo and his girlfriend said they smoking in the attic of the home, and indicated that a discarded cigarette caused the fire.

But in an interview with police, Hippo said that when he and his girlfriend were in the attic, they grew cold, prompting Hippo to create a “hobo fire” in the attic area, the criminal complaint states. Hippo told police he found a discarded sweater, placed it in a bucket, and set it on fire to create a heat source, police say.

Shortly after igniting the sweater, Hippo removed it from the bucket and stomped on it to douse the flames, he told police. Hippo and his girlfriend then left the attic, police say.

About an hour later, Hippo told police, he and his girlfriend were alerted to the sounds of “crackling wood” coming from the attic, and when he opened the door to a stairwell leading to the attic area he observed heavy smoke.

Hippo later provided a written statement to police admitting the “hobo fire” was the cause of the blaze, police say.

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