Police on Long Island arrested a man Saturday after the fire he started inside a stranger's garage got out of control.
Authorities say George Diamond, 23, started the fire after breaking into a garage attached to a home on West Loines Avenue in Merrick at around 6:15 a.m Saturday.
As the blaze began to spread, police say Diamond took off his pants and tried using them to fight the fire.
When that didn't work, he ran out of the garage and into an adjacent backyard, wearing only shorts, a t-shirt and socks. A neighbor spotted him, and called the police.
While authorities had originally said Diamond was homeless and started the fire to stay warm, he later confessed that he started the fire with the intent to rob the home.
When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting upwards of 10 feet. Ron Luparello, ex-chief and spokesman for the Merrick Fire Department, said it "almost looked like the whole house was engulfed."
The fire spread to the attached home and sport utility vehicle parked in the driveway, according to Luparello. The heat of the fire also damaged the house next door, melting the siding.
There were two people inside the home as the fire spread but they escaped on their own. Firefighters did rescue a small dog that was trapped inside.
Officers arrested Diamond, who was taken to a hospital for undisclosed reasons. There was no information on charges.
Two firefighters were also taken to area hospitals and were treated and released for smoke inhalation and elevated levels of carbon monoxide, authorities said.