Arson suspect receives homicide charge after house fire victim dies

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CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Charges have been upgraded in relation to a house fire on Aug. 24 in Upper Yoder Township after the victim died from her injuries.

According to Cambria County District Attorney Greg Neugebauer, Sheila Clem was removed from the house fire on the 3300 block of Menoher Boulevard and succumbed to her injuries on Sept. 5. She was previously in the Pittsburgh Burn Unit.

As a result of Sheila Clem’s death, upgraded charges were filed against her husband, Gregory Z. Clem, 64, including one count of criminal homicide.

Gregory Clem also faces charges for arson, aggravated arson, causing catastrophe, and recklessly endangering another person.

According to court documents, Sheila was still in the home when she called 911 to request assistance and told 911 dispatch that her husband, Gregory Clem, had set the house on fire.

Emergency services identified Gregory Clem when he was found outside with a garden house spraying water on the fire.

Gregory Clem said that Sheila was in the kitchen cooking when they heard a pop, starting the fire. However, a Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall that was called to the scene found no evidence that anyone was cooking in the kitchen, according to court documents.

The Fire Marshall found evidence that an accelerant was used in the kitchen/dining room area to start the fire, ruling the nature as arson, according to the report.

Investigation shows that Sheila Clem made the 911 call from a landline, with the phone being discovered on the coffee table in the room where she was found. Further investigation shows that due to the area the fire was started in, there would have been no way for her to escape.

Court documents state that the clothing Sheila Clem was wearing when she was transported to the hospital had an odor of kerosene.

During a search of Clem’s detached garage, the door was found wide open and two blue fuel containers were found. According to the report, blue is used to identify the container as kerosene.

A lighter was observed on the floor of the garage near the blue containers, according to the report.

A recorded interview with Gregory Clem was conducted, where he stated that he did pour gasoline on the dining room table and lit it with what he believed to be a paper towel, according to court documents.

In the interview, Gregory Clem also stated that he told Sheila Clem to get out of the house because he was going to burn it down, following up with stating that he did not know if she was still in the house or not when the fire started.

Gregory Clem has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 23.

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