ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Two people are facing arson and attempted homicide charges in relation to an Altoona house fire in October.
Daniel M. Sipes Jr., 26, and Maria Frye, 30, are currently in the Blair County Prison. According to police, Sipes set the Fifth Avenue house on fire on Oct. 14 because he had issues with a woman and a man inside. The fire was widely discussed between their friends and associates in a series of text messages, where police indicated drugs and infidelity were factors leading up to the blaze.
A patrolling Altoona police noticed the rear wall of the back porch was on fire and knocked on the door to get everyone out. It took over an hour to get the fire under control. The property was a complete loss and total damages were estimated at $60,000. One firefighter was injured in the process.
Two women, a man and three young children were in the home during the fire. The Altoona Fire Inspector suspected it was set and sent evidence to be tested for accelerants.
Sipes had eight outstanding warrants for his arrest at the time for other crimes. In a recorded phone call between Frye and Sipes while he was in jail, Frye said she would take the fall for the fire if she has to. They both have preliminary hearings scheduled for Feb. 9.