House Fire Ruled an Arson, says Fire Investigators

LINCOLN—(KFOR Feb. 1)—A Jan. 24 house fire in south Lincoln has been ruled an arson and a 41-year-old man has been arrested.

According to court documents, Joshua Berney has been arrested for arson in the fire at his home near 24th and Washington.  Once the fire was under control, Lincoln Fire and Rescue found evidence suggesting that the fire was intentionally set and requested assistance from Lincoln Police.

A woman that went to Berney’s home to check on him reported the fire, after she heard him coughing and smelled smoke. Berney eventually came out of the burning home through the front door, which had reportedly been barricaded with a couch.

Court records say a fire inspector found several burnt plastic containers on a gas stove and a trail of burn marks on the floor from the stove to a bedroom doorway. Court documents stated that the entire home smelled of smoke and gas/lighter fluid.

After he was taken to a hospital,

reported to police that someone had broke into his home and started the fire while burning his cat in front of him. He also said he did not remember moving the couch to open the front door.

The affidavit alleges Berney has a history of starting fires, including one in his own home on April 15, 2023.

Berney’s bond was set at 10 percent of $35,000. He would have to pay $3,500 to be released.