Mistaken gender identity leads to arson investigation in Norfolk

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NORFOLK, Va. - A bizarre case out of Norfolk after the gender of a man is mistaken.

Court records state the suspect freaked out and authorities say he started a fire.

Sean Danenberg was arrested for arson on November 7.

There is still damage left by the fire started back on October 30 at 8 a.m.

fire-arson“Basically, sitting in my room playing Xbox and I heard a loud popping sound,” said Patrick O'Brien, who lives next door, “I was worried about the flames coming in breaking my window.”

He said the smoke was unbearable. “Couldn't even open the door because of all the smoke accumulating everywhere and you couldn't breathe."

Court records state Danenberg tried having an “intimate conversation” with a person outside of a home on 39th street but discovered the person was a man.

It states Danenberg got upset and drove up and down the street several times shouting obscenities.fire-arson-2

Records then say he went up to the home and urinated on the floor and left.

Ten minutes later a fire was started in the back of the house.

Over a week later Danenberg turned himself in.

O’Brien told his neighbors to get out of the house and luckily no one was hurt.

The victims were not interested in speaking to News 3. The fire department estimates about $5,000 in damage.

Danenberg has a hearing on January 4 and declined an interview with News 3 from jail.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.