BUCKINGHAM TOWNSHIP, BUCKS COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Police have arrested a Dunmore man who was convicted of arson in 2013 after they say he set a fire that killed his roommate’s father in Bucks County Sunday morning.
On Sunday around 3 a.m., police say crews responded to a fire at a home in the 5700 block of Private Drive in Buckingham Township, Bucks County. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Phyllis Drelick had escaped but her husband, 81-year-old Julius Drelick died in the fire.
Phyllis was able to get out of the house before the chair lift shorted out.
“I can’t stop thinking about that chair lift frozen in place in the middle of the stairs by this intentionally set fire,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said.
Police later linked 61-year-old Christopher Gillie of Dunmore, to the scene of the fire after they said video evidence confirmed that he was driving an SUV that was seen leaving the home.
According to court paperwork, a woman from Dunmore and the daughter of the victims, Lisa King, who is Gillie’s roommate, reported to police that her car was taken without her permission. Police said that her missing SUV was being driven by Gillie.
Along with the missing vehicle, King noticed the keys to her parent’s house were missing, police say. Later in the morning, police say they pulled over an SUV matching the description of the missing vehicle.
Neighbor Benjamin Day says he saw Dunmore Police entering and exiting King’s apartment.
“They were here for quite a while and up and down the steps. I knew something had happened and I didn’t see Chris around,” Day said.
During the traffic stop, officers say Gillie smelled of gas, had a lighter in his car and a rifle in the backseat. Gillie also confirmed to officers that he was “drunk” during the stop.
Phyllis confirmed that the rifle seen in the vehicle was originally on the mantel in her house.
Gillie was found guilty of arson back in 2013 for two fires set on Larch Street in Scranton in 2012. He was released in October of 2018.
“The Dunmore Police Department were particularly a great assistance to us in this investigation,” Weinstraub said.
He is facing 15 charges, including criminal homicide and arson. He is locked up in the Bucks County Correctional Facility.