Police: Man who started Merrick fire found half-naked

Police say a man who was naked from the waist down was arrested today for allegedly starting an early morning fire in Merrick.Authorities say the

MERRICK - Police say a man who was naked from the waist down was arrested today for allegedly starting an early morning fire in Merrick.

Authorities say the man lit a fire in the garage of a Merrick home to stay warm. When the fire got out of control, he used his clothes to try putting it out and then allegedly ran, hopped a fence and ended up in Scott Foster's backyard.

?He was standing there with a book of matches, naked from the waist down. Just a T-shirt on,? Foster says.

Merrick Fire Department Asst. Chief Michael Gargan says the couple sleeping inside the home is incredibly lucky to have escaped without injury.

?The garage fire could have spread to the stairwell where the bedroom was. The smoke detectors did work,? he says.

Two firefighters were taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Both are expected to be OK.

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