McKEESPORT (KDKA) — Allegheny County Police say they have filed charges against a McKeesport man in connection with an October fire that claimed the lives of six people, including four children.
According to police, 24-year-old Ryan Williams has been charged with six counts of homicide, arson and burglary in the case.
Investigators say he allegedly lit a roll of toilet paper on fire and threw it on a living room couch.
Hope Jordan, 27, her four children – ages 2 to 7, and her 55-year-old father-in-law all died in the Oct. 18 fire at the home on Express Alley.
The sole survivor of the blaze was Jordan’s husband, 23-year-old Keith Egenlauf. Relatives said he suffered burns to over 55 percent of his body in the fire while trying to save his father.
Police say through the course of their investigation, they determined that “the fire was intentionally set.”
Police said Williams and Keith Egenlauf were both involved in a 2013 burglary. Keith got of jail early after cooperating with investigators.
But Williams remained locked up for nearly 10 months, later telling unidentified witnesses who have now come forward that he was upset with Egenlauf.
Authorities say Williams thought Egenlauf was the reason he had been locked up for such a long time, and he also believed Egenlauf was talking to police about the burglary which the two men were involved in.
According to the criminal complaint, after some heavy drinking, Williams told an unidentified friend, “I just set Keith’s house on fire. If anybody asks, I was here all night.”
The criminal complaint also says Williams believed Keith lived in the home alone. And when he learned of the children’s deaths, he began crying.
Hope’s sister-in-law said she was too distraught to talk on camera, but she told KDKA by phone on Saturday evening: “This has just been a vicious cycle. We had some clues this was happening, but we didn’t know about it [the suspect] until yesterday. I don’t know Ryan. I just don’t understand what was going on in his head. He had to know those babies were in the house.”
Williams is being held at the Allegheny County Jail while he awaits arraignment.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.