Man charged with setting deadly fire over breakup, authorities say

Aaron Clark, 30, faces counts of murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment and related...
Aaron Clark, 30, faces counts of murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment and related offenses stemming from the fire that killed his ex-girlfriend's sister.(Source: Darby Township Police Department)
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 2:15 AM EST
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DARBY, Pa. (AP) - A man accused of starting a fire at his former girlfriend’s home last weekend that killed her disabled sister has been charged with murder and several other counts, authorities announced Wednesday.

Aaron Clark, 30, of West Philadelphia, also faces counts of attempted murder, reckless endangerment and related offenses stemming from Sunday’s fire in Darby Township, which Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer called “an act of pure evil.” Clark remains jailed without bail, and it wasn’t known if he’s retained an attorney.

Olivia Drasher, 20, who had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair, was killed in the fire.

Authorities said the blaze started outside her first-floor bedroom and quickly spread. A nurse who cared for Drasher alerted others in the home and they safely escaped, but neither they nor firefighters could rescue Drasher due to the intense smoke and flames.

An autopsy determined Drasher died from smoke inhalation and burns. No other injuries were reported in the fire.

Drasher’s relatives told authorities they believed Clark was responsible, and surveillance footage from the neighborhood captured him walking away from the home minutes after the fire started, according to court documents. A neighbor also saw Clark throw something on to the porch shortly before the fire began, authorities said.

Clark was arrested several hours later on a warrant stemming from an alleged attack on Drasher’s sister that had occurred the previous day, when she told him she was ending their relationship.

The couple worked together at a postal facility, and the woman eventually filed a complaint against Clark with the Postal Inspection Service, accusing him of increasingly aggressive behavior, according to court documents. Clark continued to text the woman, however, and allegedly threatened to post explicit photos and videos of her on social media if she would not talk with him.