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Wife: Husband's Washington Twp. arson accusations 'inflated'

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Monday, July 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Washington Township man remained in jail in Fayette County on Sunday on arson charges in connection with a fire at his residence.

The suspect, James P. McGavitt Jr., 37, was charged by Washington Township police with arson, reckless endangerment of an inhabited building, risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person and disorderly conduct.

McGavitt was arraigned before Belle Vernon District Judge Jesse Cramer and placed in the Fayette County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bond. McGavitt faces a preliminary hearing on Friday before Cramer.

McGavitt's wife, Georgette, said on Sunday that the fire that started on Saturday afternoon outside the garage door of their Hillman Street residence was quickly extinguished and did not cause any damage.

McGavitt said the charges filed against her husband “are inflated.” Although her husband is charged with recklessly endangering another person, Georgette McGavitt said no one was in danger of being hurt by the fire.

Washington Township police Officer John M. McLaughlin Jr., who filed charges against McGavitt, could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

The Washington Township Fire Department was not dispatched to the fire, she said.

Georgette McGavitt declined to comment on how the fire was started or how it was extinguished.

Neither fire Chief Robert Bennett nor Charles Horan, president of the fire department, could be reached for comment on Sunday.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or

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