Indiana County firefighters already in jail for arson accused of setting 2 more blazes
Two Indiana County volunteer firefighters already in jail for allegedly setting fire to an Amish furniture store earlier this year were charged this week by state police with setting two more fires last December.
Nicholas Leone, 22, of Creekside, and Dylan Dalessio, 19, of Plumville, allegedly used a “Molotov cocktail” to cause a fire that destroyed the furniture store in West Mahoning Township Jan. 25, according to Trooper Russell Stewart, a state police fire marshal at the Punxsutawney station. The store, which was owned by Roman Blyer, 26, of Smicksburg, is in an Amish region in the northern portion of the county.
During an interview after the pair’s Sept. 24 arrests, Leone told state police fire marshal Chet Bell of Greensburg that the pair also set a fire Dec. 29 to an abandoned garage and carport containing a 1998 Ford Taurus along Bailey Road in Washington Township, Indiana County.
Leone also allegedly told Bell during the interview that early Dec. 21, he was with Dalessio when Dalessio used gasoline to set fire to a barn along Route 954 , also in Washington Township.
Both Leone and Dalessio were members of the Plumville Volunteer Fire Company that responded to the three fires. Prior to his arrest, Leone had quit the Plumville fire department and applied to the Creekside Volunteer Fire Company, police said.
The Plumville fire department is cooperating in the ongoing investigation, police said.
The three fires were among a string of 11 suspicious fires in the region since August 2018 that authorities have been investigating.
Leone and Dalessio are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit arson with danger of death or bodily injury, recklessly burning an unoccupied structure and recklessly burning property worth more than $5,000. They have been held in the county jail in lieu of $250,000 bond each since their arrests, pending a preliminary hearing on Oct. 15.
The string of suspicious fires started on Aug. 9, 2018, with a fire destroyed a house and garage in Smicksburg and included a fire at the Harmony Grove Lutheran Church in Creekside. The most recent fire was at a barn on Sept. 15 in White Township.
The pair were arrested as a result of an investigation by the state police, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Indiana County District Attorney’s Office and state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Anyone having information about the fires should call the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), the Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-4-PA-TIPS, or email [email protected] or via online www.pacrimestoppers.org.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .