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Arson charged after fire destroys Cowanshannock home

| Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 1:06 p.m.

A NuMine man is charged with arson in connection with a fire on Monday night at the two-story home of a neighbor, whom he accused of stealing his chainsaw.

William Ray Hulsey, 40, of Fifth Street, is charged with four felony counts of arson and one summary count of dangerous burning. He is accused of setting a couch on fire in the living room of the home at 4061 Second St., Cowanshannock, owned by Simon Semanovich.

Semanovich told police Hulsey came to his home looking for the chainsaw, and on his second visit, he broke out a window and tore pictures off the wall. The third time her returned, Hulsey allegedly lit the couch on fire, according to the criminal complaint filed with state police.

Semanovich attempted to drag the burning couch out of the house, but was overcome by smoke and fled to a neighbor's to call 911, the complaint said.

No one was injured in the fire, but the house was destroyed, said Kevin Nelson, Rural Valley fire chief.

The uninsured home is owned by Semanovich's brother, Michael. Simon Semanovich was displaced by the fire and is staying with family members, Nelson said.

“The inside is completely gutted and the front is gone from the fire,” Nelson said.

District Judge Samuel Goldstrohm arraigned Hulsey and committed him to the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail on Tuesday. He faces a preliminary hearing on May 20.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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