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City Man Charged With Attempted Arson Following Dispute

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
October 02, 2019
Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport man was ordered held for court after family members told police he attempted to burn down their house.

According to court records, Michael L. Belcher, 43, is currently free on non-monetary bond pending formal arraignment Nov. 1 at the Allegheny County Courthouse.

McKeesport police said that officers were dispatched early on the morning of Aug. 29 to a home in the 2700 block of Grover Street when callers reported someone was pouring gasoline throughout the house.

Police said they smelled an “overwhelming odor of gasoline” when they arrived at the home and were met by a man, identified as Belcher, who said he was “angered” by his family and wanted to annoy them.

Family members told police that Belcher had been involved in a verbal argument with them earlier in the day, and at one point lit a match and tossed it on the floor in an attempt to ignite the gasoline he had poured.

Family members told police they were able to extinguish the fire before it spread and took the matches from Belcher.

Three people were home at the time of the incident, police said.

Belcher was arrested and taken to UPMC McKeesport hospital for evaluation, police said.

McKeesport police charged him Sept. 5 with attempted arson, risking a catastrophe, simple assault, recklessly endangering other persons and disorderly conduct.

Belcher waived his right to a preliminary hearing Sept. 24 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi. A charge of possession of explosive material was withdrawn.

Originally published October 02, 2019.

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