Man indicted in Schenectady fire that destroyed home, hurt 2
SCHENECTADY The man accused of setting a fire that destroyed a house in the Vale neighborhood last month has been indicted, and more charges are possible, prosecutors said.
Matthew O. Tolliver, 25, of Foster Avenue, has been indicted on one count of third-degree arson, a felony.
Further charges, including assault counts related to firefighters injured fighting the blaze, may be filed depending on how the case proceeds, prosecutor John Healy said.
Tolliver is accused of using a lighter to set combustibles on fire just before noon Oct. 9 at 22 Mynderse St. The flames spread and gutted the structure. What remained after the fire was extinguished had to be torn down.
Authorities located Tolliver shortly after with the help of witnesses, street surveillance cameras and interviews. A street camera showed Tolliver going into the home just before the fire broke out, authorities have said.
Tolliver’s connection to the house was through a friend who lived there, authorities said. All tenants in the building were supposed to have vacated in September due to city code violations related to unsanitary living conditions , but the friend was still in the process of moving out. Furniture and garbage bags outside the house at the time of the fire were his.
The friend is not a suspect in the fire, authorities said. The two went to the home together that morning and left, but Tolliver returned on his own later and set the fire.
Healy said Thursday the grand jury is continuing to investigate the case.
He said it doesn’t appear Tolliver’s purpose in returning to the house was to set the fire, but he went back for other reasons that themselves could be the subject of additional charges. He declined to elaborate.
Among the possible further charges are assault counts related to two firefighters injured. Fire Chief Michael Della Rocco suffered a minor burn to his hand and firefighter Michael Komazenski suffered a groin injury.
Tolliver remains in custody, held without bail. He is due back in court later this month.