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Pa. man charged with arson, assault

January 07, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A borough man was charged with arson and aggravated assault after a fire at his home Monday afternoon, Chambersburg police said.

James L. Gipe Sr., 42, of 101 Eisenhower Drive, also was charged with causing or risking a catastrophe and recklessly endangering another person, police said.

He was arraigned before District Justice Larry Meminger and jailed in Franklin County Prison.

Gipe was on probation at the time of his arrest, police said.

Police said they went to Gipe's home after receiving a report of a domestic dispute. Officers were met at the door by Gipe, who had two knives, police alleged. As the officers tried to convince him to put down the knives, he lighted an incendiary device and went into the living room, police alleged.

Police said they entered the home and found Gipe in the living room, along with several Molotov cocktails that were burning.

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Gipe was on the couch, still armed with the knives, police alleged.

After subduing Gipe, the police officers and two probation officers went back into the building and tried to put out the fire. The Chambersburg Fire Department put out the fire, police said.

Gipe and the officers were not injured in the incident, police said.

Arson and aggravated assault both are first-degree felonies. A conviction on the charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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