Ephrata man guilty of setting fire to his own house


EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) – The Lancaster County District Attorney’s office says an Ephrata man was convicted at trial last week of setting fire to his own house.

According to the DA’s office, Michael T. Matthews, 52, was found guilty of three felony counts, which include aggravated arson, for setting fire to a house on Hoover Drive with a female relative inside the home.

The DA’s office said the jury deliberated for about an hour following the two-day trial before deciding the case.

Lancaster County Judge Margaret Miller will order a sentence in October, following a background investigation.

Assistant District Attorney Susan Ellison presented testimony from an Ephrata police sergeant who testified that, upon arrival at the burning home, Matthews was at the front door and went inside and locked the door.

Firefighters reportedly rescued Matthews from a bedroom and taken to the hospital on May 14, 2018. They said the female got out of the home on her own and a firefighter was treated at the scene.

The DA’s office said Matthews was arrested after being released from the hospital.

A Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal testified that the fire was intentionally set and the fire and smoke caused extensive damages causing the house to be condemned.

Ephrata police Detective Kenneth Lockhart filed charges which included aggravated arson (person present), arson and risking a catastrophe.

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