Police: New Freedom man set girlfriend's house on fire

Ron Musselman
York Dispatch

A 49-year-old man admitted to setting the fire that destroyed his girlfriend’s house early Monday morning in New Freedom, according to a criminal complaint.

Christopher Wayne Bellomy, of South Third Street, New Freedom, has been charged with five felony counts related to arson, one felony count each of criminal mischief and risking catastrophe, and one misdemeanor count each of recklessly endangering another person and possessing instruments of a crime, according to online court records. 

He was taken into custody Monday after being  located in West Virginia, according to Southern Regional Police. No preliminary hearing had been set for Bellomy as of Wednesday afternoon.

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Crews responded to the fully engulfed house fire on South Third Street around 2:22 a.m. Monday in New Freedom.

According to a criminal complaint, Southern Regional Police said Bellomy told them Monday he became angry with his girlfriend, saying she was cheating on him. He said he wanted to kill himself and went to the house she owned and he shared with her on South Third Street. 

Bellomy said he poured accelerant throughout the house and placed four full gas grill-style propane tanks in the basement. He said he ignited the accelerant with a match “in an attempt to burn and explode the house with him inside."

The house was ruled a total loss. No one was injured.

Neighbors reported there had been arguments between Bellomy and his girlfriend a month ago and he moved out for two weeks. Bellomy moved back in about two weeks ago, and witnesses reported hearing arguing a few days before the fire, which was reported at 2:22 a.m. Monday, the complaint said.

Neighbors said they heard Bellomy’s diesel pickup truck leave the house a few minutes before the fire was reported to be fully involved. A state police fire marshal determined the blaze had multiple points of origin, including in the garage and kitchen, the complaint said. 

Four full and capped grill-type propane tanks had been thrown down the basement steps, causing damage to the wall, the complaint said. Four empty one-quart small engine fuel cans were discovered in the basement, three of them open. An empty five-gallon gas can was floating in the area, the complaint said.

The pool/storage shed behind the house was damaged by fire. Inside the shed were four more propane cylinders, an empty fuel can and a quart of small engine fuel.  In the pool, police found a framed picture believed to be from the house and  a key fob to the Honda Civic that was parked in the driveway and owned by the homeowner.

Police said the vehicle had been struck multiple times and there were puncture holes in the hood. A burnt cigarette was found on the front passenger seat, which was damaged. A tan plastic bag containing a one-quart fuel can was found under the driver’s seat, the complaint said.

— Ron Musselman can be reached at rmusselman@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @ronmusselman8.

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