Two Firefighters Sentenced in Arson Cases

CLEARFIELD – Two firefighters charged with arson were sentenced Wednesday during plea and sentencing court.

Hunter Thomas Harris, 22, Philipsburg, and Samuel Wilbur Connor V, 20, Howard, were sentenced to 12 months less two days to two years less one day in the county jail, and five years consecutive probation for burglary, criminal conspiracy/burglary, arson, criminal conspiracy/arson, possession of explosives, criminal conspiracy/possession of explosives, failure to control and criminal conspiracy/failure to control.

They must pay restitution of over $52,900, according to a court employee. They are restricted from being a part of any fire departments or any emergency services group.

Also charged in this case is Kenneth Moore, 21, Lanse, who has also agreed to plead guilty. He will be sentenced Oct. 4.

The trio was charged in connection to a fire at a Chester Hill home on Oct. 9.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, police were asked to investigate the fire by Chester Hill Fire Department’s Chief. It was determined that the fire started inside a shed attached to the back of the home where a direct flame was used deliberately on some combustible materials. From there the fire spread up the exterior rear of the unoccupied home and into the residence.

When the three men were interviewed about the fire on Oct. 26, they independently confessed after receiving their Miranda warnings. Their statements were consistent with each other, with the damage and the evidence at the scene.

They said while they were at the Hope Fire Station in Philipsburg in the early morning hours of Oct. 9, they talked about starting a fire in a vacant home Moore had previously located. They wanted a fire so they could respond there with their fire company that provides aid to the Chester Hill Fire Department.

Using hay, a cardboard toilet paper roll, a paper wrapper from a new toilet paper roll and a paper plate they created a fuel package for ignition. They traveled to the home where Moore dropped Harris and Connor off. Harris placed the package inside an opening of the wood frame shed and he used a lighter that he obtained from Moore’s vehicle to ignite the fuel package. Harris and Connor went to the parking lot of Hi-way Pizza where they met back with Moore. They then returned to the fire station in Philipsburg to wait for the call that came about 15 minutes later for the fire company to respond to a structure fire in Chester Hill. The three men returned to the scene with the fire company and assisted with putting out the fire.

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