Monday, August 17, 2009


Oneonta, New York police have arrested the owner of a home heavily damaged in a July 23 fire and accused him of setting the blaze which led to the injury of two firefighters.

Donald R. Kropp, 33, was arraigned Friday afternoon and charged with third degree arson, second degree insurance fraud, two counts of second degree assault and first degree reckless endangerment. The charges are all felonies. The two counts of assault stem from the fact that two firefighters were injured.

If he is convicted, Kropp could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison on the most serious charges.

Kropp’s arrest followed a two-week investigation into the blaze that heavily damaged the two-story frame structure where he lived with his wife and three children.

Oneonta Fire Chief Robert Barnes said fire investigators determined the fire was incendiary in nature. One of the two firefighters who were injured while fighting the blaze, Barnes said the fire was started in a first floor room that was being used as a bedroom.

Located on Susquehanna Street, the home was insured for more than $500,000. Kropp filed an insurance claim for his losses following the fire, but the claim was never paid.

No one was home when the fire was discovered by a neighbor who contacted the fire department at approximately 5:45 p.m. An estimated 75 firefighters from Oneonta and surrounding departments fought the blaze in the two-story home.

The structure sustained significant smoke, water and fire damage. Most of the damage reportedly occurred on the first floor of the house. The structure contained an unoccupied rental apartment.

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