Elk County hit with another arson

JOHNSONBURG – Elk County was burned with another arson case after an early-morning fire torched a residence owned by Albert Lee Abplanalp, age 59, at 208 Church St. in Johnsonburg.The initial call was placed at 12:58 a.m. as a fire destroyed a single-stall garage, four residential structures, and a vehicle. The residence at 208 Church St. sustained the most damage, as the fire originated in a detached single-stall garage at the property and spread to the main residence situated only a few feet away.Flames also destroyed a 2003 Chevrolet SUV parked nearby and owned by Benji Fields of 206 Church St. Radiant heat from the fire also damaged 204 and 206 Church St. and caused minor damage at 223 Willow St. The cause of the fire was determined to be arson following an investigation headed by Trooper Greg Agosti, a State Fire Marshal for the Pennsylvania State Police.Damage is estimated at $200,000. There were no injuries reported and Abplanalp was not home at the time of the fire.The St. Marys, Ridgway, and Wilcox fire departments assisted members of the Johnsonburg Fire Department in battling the fire. The American Red Cross assisted Abplanalp, as his home was severely damaged in the fire. Reports indicate Abplanalp did not have insurance coverage.The investigation is continuing. Area residents are reminded to contact police if they observe suspicious activity in their neighborhood at the time the activity is occurring. Anyone with any information regarding the fire is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Fire Marshal at 814-776-6136 or the Johnsonburg Borough Police Department at 814-772-0000.

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