Police: Woman set fire to Hanover home

Christopher Dornblaser
  • A McSherrystown woman is accused of causing the fire that damaged her Hanover home in 2014.
  • Jill Ann Yohe, 47, is charged with arson, according to police.
  • Officials say she had an "intuition" to remove some items from her home before the fire.
  • She remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail.

A McSherrystown woman allegedly had an "intuition" and removed several wedding-related items from her Hanover home before it was set ablaze in 2014, police said.

Now, nearly three years to the day after the fire, Hanover Police have accused the woman of intentionally setting the blaze.

Police have charged Jill Ann Yohe, 47, of 232 Main St., with arson, according to documents.

Allegations: Firefighters were dispatched to 705 Broadway about 7 a.m. May 5, 2014, and they had to force entry into the residence to extinguish a fire, documents state.  Police say Yohe lived there with a man and that Yohe was the last person to leave the home before the fire.

Fire officials found four separate fires between the first floor and basement, and police say the fires were not connected and were intentionally set.

While on the scene, Yohe gave inconsistencies when telling what happened that day, including the time she went to work, according to police. She said she left her home around 6:15 a.m. but was found to be at a local convenience store at 6:02 a.m., documents state.

She also said she showed up late to work, but police say she actually showed up about 20 minutes earlier than normal.

Blankets cause fire: According to police, two of the fires started from blankets, and one of them — a Steelers blanket — was rolled up and shoved within the rafters of the basement ceiling, court documents allege. Police say another one was a green blanket on a wooden pallet that was leaned against the hot water heater. Both of the blankets tested positive for the presence of gasoline, documents allege.

Yohe told officials that she was in the basement the day before and had laid the blankets out to dry, police said. She told police that the blankets had gotten wet from the sump pump failing, documents allege. Police say the man who lived in the residence with her denied having had any water issues.

Yohe said she laid one of the blankets on a pallet, which was then moved next  to the furnace and hot water heater, police said. She said nothing was burnt when she went down the basement, according to police.

Home: Through investigation, police say they found that the deed for the house was still in the name of the man and his ex-wife, which was a "sore topic" for Yohe.

She said even though it was the man and his ex's home, it was still "her home," according to charging documents. Because of credit issues, Yohe and the man were not able to refinance the home and remove his ex's name from the deed, police said.

According to charging documents, a taxidermy mount of a bear as well as hunting gear and guns were in the basement and living room, where the fires started. The gear and taxidermy animals cost "several hundred to several thousand"  dollars, police said.

Additionally, Yohe's soon-to-be daughter-in-law at the time said that there was a bridal party at Yohe's residence about a month before the fire, but the bride's wedding dress, as well as the daughter-in-law's bridal shower gifts and pictures of Yohe's son, were in Yohe's car during the fire, documents state.

"Jill told her that she had an 'intuition' to remove them from the house prior to the fire," the officer wrote in the affidavit of probable cause.

Police say Yohe and the man had wanted to remodel the residence but couldn't because of financial issues. Her soon-to-be daughter-in-law said that Yohe had always been upset that the ex-wife's name was still on the home and that Yohe did not like the home, charging documents state.

Yohe was arraigned on the charges Tuesday, and she remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail. John Mooney, who is listed as her attorney, did not return a message requesting comment.

Yohe's preliminary hearing is set for 2 p.m. May 23 at District Judge Dwayne Dubs' office.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.