Mother accused of setting home on fire, leaving multiple families homeless

CONNELLSVILLE — Three homes in Connellsville are empty Friday night following a fire investigators believe was intentionally set.

All three homes are beyond repair, and police believe a young mother set the fire.

Kelley Anderson is charged with arson and 12 counts of attempted homicide, one count for each person that is now homeless.

”Pretty quickly, there was some inconsistencies to what we were seeing and what we were being told,” said Cpl. Bryan Kendi with the Connellsville Police Department.

Connellsville police told Channel 11 Anderson was nowhere to be found the night of the fire. Firefighters panicked when they responded to her unit, thinking she could have been trapped. They checked multiple times for her and her 3-year-old daughter.

“Adult female and her small child were missing and reports were they were possibly in the home,” said Kendi.

It turns out, investigators say, Anderson lit her bedroom curtains on fire, then jumped out of the window to save her and her daughter.

Anderson told police she thought relatives who also lived in the duplex were trying to kill her.”I mean, it was pretty straight forward. She was trying to kill the people inside that part of the house. That was her intent,” said Kendi.

Channel 11 spoke with Michelle Schmuck, one of the fire victims, who walked us through what happened.

“I’m just thankful to be alive. I’m thankful that we’re out of the house. But I feel sorry that we all lost everything,” said Schmuck.

When our Melanie Gillespie checked back in with her on Friday, Schmuck told her that she’s staying with family and she’s happy to see Anderson charged because her actions totally ruined her life and everyone else’s involved. But, she has faith and hope she’ll get back on her feet. As for first responders, they say they’re just grateful no one was hurt.

“Not only did they have to fear for their lives and getting out of the fire, but then everything within the residence, their personal items, memories everything is destroyed, and you had the potential danger for the first responders,” said Schmuck.

Kelley Anderson is in jail tonight and was denied bond.