ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — An Altoona man is facing charges of arson after he reportedly admitted to setting a fire to the back porch of his own house Tuesday evening, June 28, according to Altoona police.
Altoona fire and police were called to a home on the 1300 block of 16th Avenue just after 7 p.m. for a reported porch fire. After arriving, they found that the neighbor had managed to put out the fire before it spread into the home. The Fire Inspector said he had already spoken with the homeowner, 33-year-old Matthew Wombacher, who said he was home that evening and left a lit cigar in a trash can.
According to the complaint, Wombacher’s story didn’t add up after police spoke with the neighbor who said Wombacher was on the back porch lighting things on fire. He told police that he tried to yell for Wombacher but realized he had left the residence.
Wombacher’s wife told police that the two have been arguing recently and she recalled at one point he said he would set the house on fire to claim the insurance and he’ll take the dogs with him.
Police noted that they found the house across the street had a security camera hooked up and said it caught Wombacher loading up the dogs and leaving the scene as the fire was seen on the back porch.
Wombacher reportedly arrived at Altoona fire Station 1 later that evening and police arrived shortly after. It’s reported that Wombacher told police he was “just having fun” and “I set the fire.” Police also said that Wombacher admitted that he was drinking after they noticed he appeared intoxicated.
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Police took Wombacher into custody. He was placed in Blair County Prison on $75,000 cash bail. He now faces felony charges of arson, risking a catastrophe and more.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 13.