All-Star Criminals

Can’t Help But Respect This Swampscott Man Who Burnt Down His $900,000 House He Built After Losing It In Divorce

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Turtleboy does NOT advocate starting fires. It’s dangerous and puts firefighters and neighbors in imminent danger. It’s also against the law. But at the same time, we can’t help but somewhat respect how this Swampscott man handled his messy divorce:

A Swampscott man charged with torching his expensive house to keep it away from his soon-to-be ex-wife was ordered held without bail Monday. Timothy Brosnan, 57, was arrested Saturday evening shortly after police say he set his Linden Avenue home on fire. He was arraigned on an arson charge this afternoon in Lynn District Court.  He will return to court Wednesday for a dangerousness hearing.

Prosecutors say Brosnan burned the house he built one day before he was scheduled to hand it over to his soon-to-be ex-wife as part of a divorce settlement. “My understanding is the probate court gave the wife possession of the house and that they were to split the mortgage while the divorce proceeding is pending,” Brosnan’s defense attorney, Gary Zerola, told WBZ-TV. According to a police report, Brosnan was standing in front of the home watching the flames when firefighters arrived Saturday evening.

Brosnan allegedly told officers that he had poured gasoline in the garage and throughout the house and that he had also opened a gas valve inside. “In the process of arresting Timothy he was laughing and making jokes,” the police report stated. “He was starring [sic] into the house that was on fire and said isn’t this the most beautiful thing ever. He would laugh out loud and say yes I did that.”

Zerola said Brosnan made sure everyone was out of the house at the time, “even the cat.” He claimed Brosnan has never been arrested and has no history of domestic violence.

“Mr. Brosnan’s been going through a very difficult time in his life,” Zerola said. “It’s the end of a 27-year marriage with three beautiful children… this is totally the antithesis of everything I know about the man.”


The home is listed on Zillow as being worth $900,000.

Oh you think you’re getting the house? That’s cute. What house? I don’t see any house. If you want that $900,000 pile of ashes over there it’s all yours.

We don’t know the first thing about this guy’s divorce or what his wife is like, but if he built the house himself and lost it in the divorce, can you really blame him for being this vengeful? At least he was responsible about it and got rid of the pets and children. And more importantly, at least a big part of his master plan was taking responsibility for it. He could’ve been sneaky about and let the firefighters waste their time investigating it, but instead he stood there like a man and watched his hard work burn to the ground as he laughed in the sweet sensation of victory.

Anyway, this guy is completely fucked at this point and is probably gonna lose everything and go to jail. But at least he went out with a bang and a huge smile on his face. Does this look like a man who has any regrets to you?


Nope. “I did that.”

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29 Comment(s)
  • Beans and toast
    December 19, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    I certainly don’t recommend this and i would hate for a fireman to get hurt and I hate the fact that the firemen did get hurt if this was something you could just do and it wouldn’t be an issue with fireMen getting hurt absolutely burn the fucking thing in the ground fuck her I’ve been there plus last night I watch the movie she Devil with Roseanne Barr who blows the fucking house up. She does the exact same thing it’s kind of cool good movie Meryl Streep is excellent in it I want to drop some money off of this guys canteen at least for Christmas. And give the same amount of money to fireman’s charity of some sort …

  • Joe Max
    August 6, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I can feel his pain, as some say. Figured alcohol was involved somehow too. Nice town, not like burning a house in the Worcester area. Not good, he’s in big trouble now and not worth it. Maybe it is to him ?

  • Eric
    August 4, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Revenge is a dish best served cold… Someone missed the boat on that one.

    Still, I bet that smile was a mile wide and quite gratifying from the sound of it.

  • justme!
    August 4, 2016 at 4:19 am

    come like there isn’t insurance on the house. the wife will collect the insurance money and just go and buy a new house. while this moron sits in jail for arson! WAY TO GO ASSHAT.

  • Reddog
    August 4, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Maybe Brosnan should hire Fiesty. His lawyers name is ZEROla? I’d never hire a zero

  • Nichole M.
    August 3, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I sometimes think about doing this to my husband… He gets on my damn nerves! I wouldn’t do well in jail though.

  • duh
    August 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    “My understanding is the probate court gave the wife possession of the house and that they were to split the mortgage while the divorce proceeding is pending,”Brosnan’s defense attorney, Gary Zerola, told WBZ-TV.

    So, basically he burned down his wife’s house, he’ll still be on the hook for half the mortgage, and he’s been arrested.

    Yep, that sure will show her.

  • Hetero white male
    August 3, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    This man is a fucking hero

  • Mike
    August 3, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Looks like Bill Murry

    • Reddog
      August 4, 2016 at 1:05 am

      You stole my comment!

  • Fast Mike
    August 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Big props to this guy. For good measure, I would have pissed on the ashes.

  • BobnMic
    August 3, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    You have to wonder what in the world went wrong for it to get to this level? Cheating? What gets a women and a man to hate each other this much? It has to be cheating. Gambling? Ehhh I don’t know. Alcoholism or drug abuse – maybe. Physical abuse by the husband – well that would also definitely do it. So I’m going to guess either spousal abuse or cheating.

    If it’s both then I am surprised there was not a homicide crime scene rather than arson…

    • JayE
      August 3, 2016 at 9:08 pm


  • Emily
    August 3, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Seriously when I heard this on the news I felt bad for the wife but I CHEERED the husband . Sounds crazy I know but he built the house and now he’s out! Should have been sold and profit split. JMO

  • Bowen Hardcase
    August 3, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    If he were smart, he should’ve canceled the insurance coverage on the house first.

    • Condom
      August 3, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      No insurer pays for arson.

  • Turtleboysportsheaduphisass
    August 3, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    You downplay the risk to neighbors’ families and properties in an unusually dry summer. And how about our firemen who were put at risk in a 3 alarm fire? Or the guy’s kids who have to live with the taunts and stigmatization that will attach to them. There is nothing to admire here. Nothing!

    • kingsraisins
      August 3, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      I think we’ve found Mrs. Brosnan.

      • Turtleboysportsheaduphisass
        August 3, 2016 at 3:11 pm

        Umm no. Maybe a friend or colleague of the fireman rushed to the hospital after suffering from heat exhaustion? Maybe a dad to a friend of one of his kids? Maybe just someone who think that a person setting fire to property and risking lives to make a point is a sociopath or a psychopath. Even if he got an unfair divorce order, what he did is dangerous.

        • Condom
          August 3, 2016 at 3:32 pm

          Maybe huh? How about you quit lying doosnozzle.

  • KimberlyS
    August 3, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Temporary insanity?

  • Rational person
    August 3, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    So he burned down his kids’ house. Nice dad.

    • Condom
      August 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      No mention that the kids were moving in, just the wife. Illiterate eh? Or stupid?

    • KimberlyS
      August 3, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      They were married for 27 years, and he’s 57 years old. More likely than not, the kids are grown & gone.

  • Sal Monella
    August 3, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Stupid man. Fire investigators can easily detect gasoline set fires.

    Better living through Chemistry…

    • fordsnharleys
      August 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      At no point did he try to hide it. Insurance won’t pay and neither will he while incarcerated.

      • Sal Monella
        August 3, 2016 at 9:39 pm

        That’s why he is so stupid. There is arson and there is properly burning one’s home so you can get some dough out of it. Yeah the ex was going to get the place but if he did it correctly – there are several untraceable methods if one knows chemistry – there could be an insurance settlement. That would place the whole thing back in Court, perhaps a more favorable outcome.

        He gets three hots and a stiffy up the pooper now. She gets to live wherever and probably gets the $$ from sale of the land, less than she would have gotten so small win in some way for him.

        In gambling the winners know advantage play. This guy is a sucker, not an AP. Should have played his hand a whole lot better.

        • Shackleford
          August 3, 2016 at 11:46 pm

          Shutup. Getting away with arson, while in the midst of a nasty divorce settlement, is not nearly as easy as you make it seem. I’m sure your “chemistry” scenario is untraceable and has never been tried, it’s just all too brilliant. Take a lap, loser.

  • Wait a Minute
    August 3, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Maybe he can get the FBI director, Jim Comey to investigate. It might be that he was just extremely careless but did nothing criminal.

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