Man accused of setting Manchester Twp. fire

A man displaced by a Manchester Township fire over the weekend is now facing charges alleging he started the blaze.

Northern York County Regional Police say Scott Rusty Miller set the fire that displaced him and his father Sunday, July 22.

A fire official said the blaze caused about $100,000 in damage.

A resident talks with a renovation representative after a fire at a home at 240 Church St. in Manchester Township early Sunday, July 22, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

Miller, 28, of the 200 block of Church Road, faces charges of aggravated arson, arson, reckless burning, recklessly endangering another person and use of drug paraphernalia.

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Arson: According to charging documents, police were sent to his home just before 3 a.m. Sunday and found Miller on top of the garage roof, claiming to have been shot at by two drug dealers.

Miller then jumped off the garage and was taken to the ground by police when he approached officers aggressively, according to police.

He told police he was at a drug house until about noon Saturday, July 21, officials said. Miller took molly at 10 a.m. and fled after seeing two drug dealers having sex with a woman, according to court documents.

"Miller claimed the drug dealers were now after him," Cpl. J. Jeffrey Sierotowicz wrote in an affidavit of probable cause. 

Police spoke to his father, who said his son probably set the fire, according to court documents.

He said his son came home around noon, but his father didn't hear from him until about 5 p.m., officials said. He said he heard a lot of noise coming from his son's room, according to police. 

A home was damaged after a fire at 240 Church St. in Manchester Township early Sunday, July 22, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

His father went and checked on his son around 1:45 a.m. and found him locked in the room, "babbling incoherently," officials said. Police say he smelled smoke an hour later and saw heavy smoke upstairs. 

He touched the door handle to the spare room and burned his hand, court documents state. He used an ax and broke the door down, and when he didn't find his son he broke the closet door down, officials said.

After that, Miller ran to the window, broke it and jumped on the roof, court documents state. His father suffered a small scratch to his left forearm while breaking the doors down, police said. 

Miller was taken to York Hospital, where he told authorities he set two fires in an attempt to deter the drug dealers from attacking him, court documents state.

He told them he lit a candle on fire in his bathroom and set it in the window with mirrors to give the illusion of a blaze, and he also set curtains on fire in the spare room, officials said. 

Response: York Area United Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Matt Arnold said the fire caused between $80,000 and $100,000 in damage.

Arnold said fire crews were dispatched just before 3 a.m. 

"We had heavy smoke showing from the second floor," he said.

He said it took fire crews about 15 minutes to have it under control. Miller said the bulk of the fire damage was on the second floor. He said the damage was significant, adding that the second floor was "pretty gutted."

One firefighter was treated for minor burns at the scene, he said.

Fire departments from Strinestown, East Manchester Township, Mount Wolf and West Manchester Township assisted in fighting the fire.

The Red Cross is assisting Miller's father, according to police.

Miller has not yet been arraigned on the charges.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.