Deputies: Man assaulted ex, splashed her with gasoline before setting home on fire

Deputies: Man assaulted ex, splashed her with gasoline before setting home on fire
Vernon Danelle Dye, 36. (Source: Lancaster County Sheriff's Office)
Vernon Danelle Dye, 36. (Source: Lancaster County Sheriff's Office)

A man is facing felony charges after investigators say he assaulted his ex-girlfriend inside her Lancaster home and then set it on fire.

The Lancaster County Fire Department says it was called to the 1800-block of Mangum Drive on Sunday morning to the report of a house fire. On the way to the scene, officials say dispatch warned firefighters there was an armed man outside the home and to wait for back-up.

According to the sheriff's office, 36-year-old Vernon Danelle Dye, of Richburg, went to the home Sunday morning and confronted a woman inside. Investigators say the pair had been dating until recently.

Officials say Dye pulled a gun on the ex-girlfriend during the argument. According to deputies, the other woman saw Dye "strike his former girlfriend with a handgun. He pointed the handgun at the other female and threatened to kill both of them and members of their families."

Another man was also in the home at the time of the incident.

Investigators say Dye would not let the three people leave the home and began splashing gasoline from a plastic container on the women and on the floor of the home before setting the home on fire.  All three were able to escape the fire.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out, after deputies arrived at the scene, but say the blaze left the home unlivable with an estimated $20,000 in damage.

Deputies found Dye's car behind his sister's home on Green Peach Road. Dye was later found at the emergency room at Springs Memorial Hospital for an issue unrelated to the fire, according to investigators.

He was taken into custody there and transported to the Lancaster County Detention Center.

Dye was charged with three counts of attempted murder, third degree arson, domestic violence, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and burglary.

"We are very thankful the victims were able to get out of the home quickly," said Sheriff Barry Faile. "This terrifying incident could have ended much worse had Dye left any of the victims incapacitated inside that home. We are also pleased that Dye was taken into custody soon after the event before he could do any more harm."

The Red Cross is helping the residents of the home find a new place to live.

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