HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Police charged Douglas Novak, 40, with arson early Friday after allegedly setting fire to his family home and killing his 92-year-old father, Frank.
Police said Frank Novak was found dead in his bedroom. Police believe his door was closed during the fire due to the flames not spreading beyond the bedroom doorway.
Police said they responded to the house fire just after 9 p.m. Thursday and heard from a neighbor that an unknown male was observed standing inside the home while the home was on fire.
Investigators learned that Douglas Novak lived at the home with his father, but that his maroon Chrysler PT Cruiser was not in the driveway.
Detectives discovered that Douglas Novak rents another apartment on Concord Avenue. They went to the apartment and found his car parked in the gravel driveway.
A neighbor told police that he heard the fire call come out over his fire department scanner and was the first person on scene. He said he looked through the glass and saw a male that matched Douglas Novak’s description standing in the landing area and looking at the burning staircase.
#BREAKING: A neighbor just confirmed that this is a pic of arson suspect, Douglas Novak. He said he stayed in his parent’s basement off and on & most recently moved back in to help his aging father. His father, Frank Novak- a 92 yo veteran- died in the fire. @KDKA pic.twitter.com/laM7t4pbKP
— MEGHAN SCHILLER (@MeghanKDKA) December 21, 2018
Police found Douglas Novak in the area of All Saints Brewery and he reportedly asked troopers to check on his father. He also stated multiple times that he may have started the fire, according to police.
Investigators believe the fire started in the dining room and living room area.
Novak later admitted that he accelerated the fire by pouring candle wax on paper. He said that when the fire got out of control, he saw a man staring at him through the window, and he ran away.
Novak now faces several charges including arson.
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