Police: New details on Clearfield County arson investigation, charges filed

Local News

CLEARFIELD COUNTY (WTAJ) — Police said the 36-year-old man that set fire to the house in Clearfield County now faces a slew of charges, including attempted homicide.

Jonathan Gallaher faces two charges of attempted homicide of 33-year-old Matthew Troxell, three arson-related felony counts, two felony counts of aggravated assault, one felony count of reckless burning having a value that exceeds $5,000 and one felony count of risking catastrophe.

The Glendale Fire Department was dispatched to the house fire at the 600 block of Main Street in Coalport Borough close to 9 p.m. April 16, according to the criminal complaint.

Officers were told that a person, Gallaher, had been seen entering the residence prior to the start of the fire and was located at the Central Bar.

Police went to the bar and interviewed Gallaher around 11 p.m. He admitted to being inside house that caught fire, claiming he went there to buy drugs. He said three other people were there, one of which included Troxell.

He explained to police that the owner of the house got upset with Gallaher for using drugs in his house and threw a drink on him, so he left to go to the bar. Around 40 minutes later, he claims this is when he heard firetrucks going past the bar and toward the house.

Police then interviewed one of the owners of the house. She said Gallaher and her husband got into an argument, and Gallaher was kicked out of the house. About five minutes after he left, she said the upstairs started filling with black smoke. She and her husband went out of a window to get out of the house, and she believed Gallaher set fire to the house.

In an interview with the other owner of the house, the husband, he said Gallaher was drunk, and he did not want him in his house. The two started arguing, and he shoved Gallaher down the steps and out the door. About five minutes later, he told police smoke started filling the house. He heard Troxell yell the fire was coming up the stairwell.

The husband said he and his wife managed to climb out a window, and he yelled at Troxell to get out, but he did not make it.

The next day, police interviewed a patron from the bar. She said Gallaher told her while he was there: “I didn’t mean for it to happen,” “I had to do it, they [messed] with my kids,” “I didn’t mean for him to die,” “I sat and watched [Troxell] burn,” “I’m getting arrested.”

Another patrol told police she heard Gallaher say he “torched the place.”

The fire marshall that investigated the scene determined the flame has started at the bottom of the stairs in the home, ignited on the carpet that lined the stairs. The timeline of the ignition is consistent with the timeline associated with the facts presented to the police.

Gallaher is being held in the Clearfield County Prison without bail. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 28.

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