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Arrest made in Elk County arson, others remain unsolved
At least five arsons from summer of 2012 remain unsolved
By Marc Stempka
Elk County, Pa. -- Nearly 11 months after an Elk County house fire was ruled arson, authorities said an arrest had been made, but that several other arson cases in the county remained open.
State police at Ridgway and Johnsonburg police announced the arrest in the August 2012 arson Monday.
State police said a 17-year-old boy has been charged for setting a fire at home at 236 Main St. in Johnsonburg on Aug. 25, 2012. His name was not released.
Police said the fire was set around 2 a.m. at the home owned by Martin Hinchliffe, of Ridgway. Previous 6 News reports said the home was abandoned at the time of the fire.
Charges were filed with juvenile authorities in Elk County court, police said. Those charges included arson, burglary, criminal trespass, risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief and reckless endangering another person.
No injuries were reported in the fire and damage was estimated at approximately $6,000.
During the summer of 2012, state police and local municipal police departments investigated a number of arsons in communities across Elk County.
Several of those fires were solved and arrests were made, investigators said. However, at least five other fires remained unsolved and police said their investigations into those fires remained active.
Police said a fire on June 17, 2012, at 429 Walnut St. in Ridgway, remained under investigation. In that fire, the rear porch of a home owned by Stephen Gausman was set on fire.
No one was home at the time of fire and at least $200,000 worth of damage was reported, previous 6 News reports stated.
State police said the investigation has continued into the old Johnsonburg Hotel fire that was reported on June 28, 2012. Previous 6 News reports stated the building had been vacant and that fire started on an upper floor in the building.
On July 2, 2012, state police said arson was to blame for a fire at the old St. Joes Club at 703 Market St. in Johnsonburg. Previous reports said the building had been vacant for at least two years prior to the fire.
In an original state police report regarding the St. Joes Club fire, police said the fire started on a second floor wood porch and a firefighter suffered a minor injury while battling the flames. The cause of the fire remains unsolved.
State police said their investigation of a vehicle fire in Saint Marys remained under investigation. On July 10, 2012, a Ford sedan was found on fire in the driveway of a home at 141 Rettger St.
Officials also confirmed their investigation remained active into an arson at 208 Church St. in Johnsonburg. That fire happened on Aug. 21, 2012.
Previous 6 News reports stated the fire at the home of Robert Abplanalp started in a detached garage, spread to his house, and also damaged three other nearby houses and a car. Damage was estimated at approximately $200,000.
State police said all unsolved arsons remained under investigation and anyone with information was asked to contact their local police department or the fire marshal unit at 814-776-6136.