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Man charged in Sunday house fire

February 23, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Chambersburg Police Department has charged a 31-year-old man with five counts of attempted homicide for setting a house on fire Sunday morning.

Cory McCartney, whose last known address was 72 Lincoln Way West, Apt. 13, is also charged with five counts of recklessly endangering another person, and single counts of arson and creating or risking a catastrophe, police said. The charges were filed before Magisterial District Judge Kelly Rock and he was taken to Franklin County Jail on $100,000 bond, according to a jail official.

Additional charges of fleeing police, recklessly endangering another person, possession of marijuana and traffic violations were filed in connection with a brief vehicle chase, Pennsylvania State Police said.

At 6:15 a.m. Sunday, the Chambersburg police and fire departments went to 256 E. Catherine St., where the exterior of a house was engulfed in flames. All five people inside were able to escape the burning house unharmed and police determined that the fire was intentionally set.

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The house was occupied by Melvina, Alyssa, Darrion and Keyone Shaffer, and Steven Harden, police said.

A state police fire marshal examined the scene and determined that gasoline or some other flammable fluid was poured around the house and set on fire, police said. That included under a heating fuel tank on the side of the house.

Exterior damage appeared to be limited mostly to the lower parts of the walls.

McCartney was the ex-boyfriend of a woman living in the house, police said. A description of his vehicle was sent to local police agencies and at 11:54 a.m., it was spotted by state police in the area of Fourth and McKinley streets.

When the trooper tried to pull over the Chevrolet S-10 pickup, McCartney fled, police said. The pursuit led out of town on Lincoln Way East, north on Mower Road and west on Walker Road, where police were setting up stop sticks, state police said.

McCartney drove into a field and back onto Walker Road, becoming airborne, state police said. The pickup nearly struck a borough police cruiser, went off the road again and struck a tree, police said.

McCartney was unharmed and was taken into custody, police said. A small amount of marijuana was found in his sock, police said.

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