Tioga Asst. Fire Chief Narrowly Escapes Injury

A Tioga, PA, assistant fire chief narrowly escaped injury when an explosive doused in gasoline went off only a few feet away from him.

Police say a man lit a ¼ stick of an explosive on Main Street in the borough of Tioga at about 9:30 last night and waited for it to go off. When it didn’t explode, he dumped gasoline on it, but it still didn’t go off so he walked away. At some point a neighbor who watched him dumped the gasoline called the fire department because they thought 28-year-old Robert Rooks III had set a nearby utility pole on fire.

When assistant chief Duane Marbaker got out of his vehicle the explosive finally exploded. Right after that, Rooks came back and was confronted by fire department personnel, who told him he needed to stick around because the police had been called. He got agitated while waiting, told a member of the fire police he was going to beat him up, and then ran away again, according to a news release.

Trooper Daniel Doney found Rooks a short time later walking “right down the middle of a very dark street.” Doney says it was obvious that Rooks was highly intoxicated and that he was also showing signs of being under the influence of some kind of controlled substance.

Doney says Rooks later told him he had taken five Xanax pills and drank at least a six-pack of beer.

Rooks is facing a number of charges, including recklessly endangering another person. He’s free on $2,000 unsecured bail.

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