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Two children, woman escape deliberate fire

| Sunday, July 6, 2003

State police at Uniontown are seeking a Lemont Furnace man accused of setting fire to his former girlfriend's residence Saturday while it was occupied by the woman and the couple's two children.

According to police, Playford Michael Hart, 37, recently separated from his girlfriend, Karen J. Fenton, 29, with whom he has two children, Desiree Hart, 3, and Playford Hart II, 1. Police said Hart entered Fenton's residence at 97 University Drive, North Union Township, at 5 a.m. yesterday. He had a can of gasoline and poured it from the back door of the residence to Fenton's vehicle, and then ignited the gasoline.

Fenton was able to extinguish the fire at the back door of the residence, but was unable to put out the vehicle fire. Firefighters from the North Union fire department extinguished the vehicle fire.

No one was injured. The property, owned by Elias Edward Nickman, of Uniontown, sustained minor damage.

Police said Hart fled on foot. A criminal complaint charges him with three counts of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and terroristic threats, as well as three counts of arson and related offenses and one count of criminal mischief.

A warrant has been issued for Hart, who is described as white, 5 feet, 11 inches tall, 180 pounds, brown, shoulder-length hair, blue eyes, tattoos on both arms and chest, last seen wearing white painter shorts, a white T-shirt and white Nike sneakers.

Anyone with information about Hart is asked to contact state police at 724-439-7111 or PA Crimestoppers at 800-4-PA-TIPS (800-472-8477).

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