The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 23, 2013

Police: Jenner Twp. blaze was arson

JENNER TOWNSHIP — A Jenner Township house fire has been ruled an arson.

Investigation continues into who ignited the blaze in the 2700 block of Penn Avenue on Oct. 8, said Scott Kovach, a state police fire marshal from the Somerset barracks.

“We’re still in the early stages of this investigation ... but we know this was a home that had no electricity or heat when the fire occurred,” Kovach said.

Because the home had been damaged by a fire in June 2012, it is more difficult to determine the origin of the latest blaze, Kovach said.

The cause of the earlier fire was ruled “undetermined” by police.

Multiple fire departments responded to this month’s fire, which was fully involved on both floors when the first responders arrived, Boswell Volunteer Fire Department’s first assistant chief, Michael Sopich, said a day after the blaze.

The home has been unoccupied since the first fire, fire officials said earlier this month.

The home’s most recent listed owner, Michael Barnick, apparently has an unlisted number and was not reached for comment.

Jenner Township Supervisor Shelley Darr said earlier this month that township officials had hoped the home would be demolished soon.

They had been told a contractor was lined up to level the home, Darr said, and the township had received a $20,000 check that was directed to escrow until the job was complete.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

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