A Connellsville man is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly lit his neighbor’s house on fire in August and called 911 about 10 minutes later to report seeing a fire from his porch.
Michael P. Fetsco, 33, of East Murphy Avenue is charged with arson, causing catastrophe, criminal mischief and recklessly endangering another person.
Rhonda Martinowski was not home when the fire started at her 511 East Murphy Avenue home at about 2 a.m. Aug. 2. She did not have insurance, and the fire caused $50,900 in damages, police said. A state police fire marshal determined the fire began on the back porch, and that it was started intentionally.
Connellsville Police obtained surveillance footage which showed a man matching Fetsco’s description running from his house at 518 East Murphy Avenue to an alley that leads to the back of his neighbor’s house.
“Moments later, a large fireball shoots into the air behind 511 East Murphy Ave.,” Connellsville Police Det. Lt. Tom Patton wrote in the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.
Video shows the man run back to his own house, back out of the driveway and leave. About 10 minutes later, he returned in the car and called 911 to say he could see a fire from his porch. He then drove away again, court documents said.
Fetsco was charged and arraigned Thursday. Magisterial District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr. set bail at $50,000. Fetsco was freed after bail was posted on his behalf.
New Haven Hose, South Connellsville, Connellsville Township and Morrell fire departments responded to extinguish the fire.