Published on March 30th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Police: Two arrested for Granville apartment building fire
Two Saratoga County men have been arrested in connection with Monday morning’s apartment house fire in the village of Granville, police said Tuesday.
The two, Stephen J. Gyarmathy, 44, and Joseph L. Guerrier, 56, both of 6 Plank Road in Porter Corners, were charged with second-degree arson and first-degree reckless endangerment, both felonies, Granville Police said.
Granville Police Chief Ernie Bassett said the fire was set on the stairway that led from the second floor of the 44 Mettowee St. home, the only exit for resident of the two apartments on that floor. Gasoline was poured on the stairs to accelerate the blaze, he said.
He said authorities plan to look into whether attempted murder charges are warranted as well.
“They set a fire at 2 a.m. outside the only exit out of that building,” State Police Senior Investigator Thomas Aiken said. “Based on the circumstances, they intended to seriously injure or kill the occupants of the second floor of the building.”
Granville Police Sgt. David Williams said Gyarmathy had dated a woman who lived on the second floor of the home, and the two had a child together.
Police said Gyarmathy was upset and did not want the child at the mother’s home, though he did not say whether he was trying to burn down the home or kill his former paramour to keep her from seeing the child.
The child was not in the apartment at the time, because Gyarmathy has custody, Williams said.
Gyarmathy and Guerrier — who are brothers-in-law — drove to the home early Monday, and Gyarmathy allegedly took a gas can and poured gasoline on the stairway and porch at the base of the stairs, police said.
Guerrier drove him to Granville, and drove him away from the scene after the fire was set, according to police.
Granville Police and State Police interviewed Gyarmathy late Monday because of his connection to the tenant and history of conflict with her, and he consented to a polygraph test, police said.
He failed that test, and early Tuesday admitted his involvement in the blaze, according to police. Guerrier also subsequently confessed, authorities said.
The fire was discovered by a man who was in the apartment of the woman who Gyarmathy targeted, police said. He awoke just before 2 a.m. Monday to hear a smoke alarm.
Police said 11 people were routed from the four apartments in the building by the fire, and one person suffered minor smoke inhalation. Five people had to be rescued from a second-story roof.
The stairs and back of the building suffered fire damage but a Washington County sheriff’s deputy who arrived on the scene was credited with quelling it with a fire extinguisher before Granville firefighters could completely stop it.
Both men were arraigned before Granville Village Justice Paul Manchester and sent to Washington County Jail.
Source: poststar.com “Police: Two arrested for Granville apartment building fire,” March 26, 2013.