ShareThis Page
Westmoreland

Cops: Truck driver left scene of North Belle Vernon house fire caused by downed utility pole

Renatta Signorini
| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
A North Belle Vernon home was damaged Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 after a truck driver allegedly pulled down a utility pole, catching the home on fire.
Melanie Gillespie | WPXI
A North Belle Vernon home was damaged Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 after a truck driver allegedly pulled down a utility pole, catching the home on fire.

A truck driver was jailed Wednesday after North Belle Vernon police allege he knocked a utility pole into a house, catching it on fire, before leaving the scene.

Nathanael William Smyth, 27, of San Angelo, Texas, was arrested at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Donegal exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, according to a criminal complaint. Police said there was damage to the passenger side of his tractor-trailer and debris lodged in the trailer from the pole.

Firefighters and police were called at 4:30 p.m. to a home at the intersection of Hill and Arch streets in the residential neighborhood for a reported attic fire and hit and run. Police said in court papers the utility pole was leaning over and there were tire tracks through the yard.

A witness described the tractor-trailer as having a red cab with a white refrigerated trailer with the name Trans AM on the side. Police contacted the trucking company and the driver stopped on the eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike about 4 miles from the Somerset exit. State police met up with Smyth and took him to the Donegal exit where he was arrested by North Belle Vernon police.

Smyth told police he got lost and didn’t think he hit anything, according to the complaint. He was being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on $100,000 bond on charges of causing catastrophe, reckless endangerment and accidents involving damage.

A man inside the home was able to escape uninjured, police said. The home was damaged.

Smyth did not have an attorney listed in online court records. A Nov. 19 preliminary hearing is set. Attempts to reach the trucking company were unsuccessful.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me