Police: Ligonier Township homeowner admits to setting own house on fire
A Ligonier Township man told authorities he smoked methamphetamine before allegedly setting fire to his rented home, according to court papers.
Brian W. McVicker, 54, had a lighter in his hand when authorities arrived after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday at the house, located behind the Washington Furnace Inn along Route 30, east of Laughlintown, police said.
“He admitted to the officers that he lit it on fire,” said Mike Matrunics, assistant chief of Ligonier Valley police.
McVicker was arraigned Wednesday on arson, burglary, drug possession and related offenses. He was being held at the Westmoreland County Prison on $150,000 bail.
Police and firefighters arrived late Tuesday to found the house fully engulfed in flames. They encountered McVicker, who appeared nervous and said several times that he was afraid of three men who he believed were after him, police reported.
McVicker told investigators he lit a can of Crisco on fire inside the front door to ward off the men and fled once it got too hot inside, according to investigators. A neighbor reported to police that McVicker broke into his home and was yelling incoherently.
McVicker discharged a fire extinguisher in the neighbor’s home, police said. Authorities found what they believe is methamphetamine in the suspect’s pocket, according to a criminal complaint. McVicker claimed there were three people living in the basement, but firefighters found no evidence of that.
The home was destroyed, Matrunics said.
Tribune-Review staff writer Jeff Himler contributed. Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, email@example.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .