Press-Republican

July 31, 2013

Rouses Point man charged with arson, assault

By FELICIA KRIEG
Press-Republican

---- — ROUSES POINT — Police say Randy J. Guay attacked his estranged wife during a domestic dispute then set their home afire. 

He is charged with second-degree assault, third-degree arson and first-degree criminal contempt, all felonies.

Guay, 37, of Clinton Street is also charged with three misdemeanors: fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child.

UNDER INVESTIGATION

Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. Brent Davison said Guay started the fire Monday after his wife and daughter had fled the residence at 30 Priscilla Lane, and the incident remained under investigation.

Chazy-based State Police responded at about 8:15 a.m., as firefighters knocked down the blaze, which significantly damaged the basement of the home and the garage.

Guay was found in a neighbor’s shed shortly after, Davison said, and was taken to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh for treatment of what appeared to be self-inflicted cuts to his arms and legs. He was arrested after his release.

WIFE, DAUGHTER INJURED

His estranged wife, Tricia Guay, had cuts to both her hands, and the couple’s 12-year-old daughter, Karissa, sustained a minor injury as a result of the dispute, police said in a press release.

Mother and daughter had run to a house nearby. Neighbor Paul Rowe took them to the North Country Family Health Center in Champlain for treatment.

Rowe told the Press-Republican he found a bloody knife in his pickup truck before he brought Mrs. Guay and Karissa for treatment. He handed it over to police.

Rouses Point Volunteer Fire Department First Assistant Fire Chief Walt Laramie said none of the injuries were a direct result of the fire.

But, “to the best of my knowledge, any pets that were in the house did not make it out.”

Rowe’s girlfriend, Mary Shaughnessy, said Monday that two cats and a dog had died.

SEARCH WARRANT

Police secured a search warrant and gathered evidence at the Guay residence after the family had left the property, police said in the release.

Fire investigators found multiple points of origin for the fire, and their findings were consistent with Mr. Guay’s interview with police, Davison said.

Laramie said about 35 firefighters worked together to extinguish the initial fire before it sparked again.

The Rouses Point Volunteer Fire Department was back in service by 10 a.m., but about 20 firefighters were called again to the home at about 11:15 a.m. to extinguish flames that had rekindled, he said.

“On both occasions, by the time we got there, which was within minutes, there was very heavy fire showing.”

RED CROSS HELPED

While he couldn’t say where the initial fire began, Laramie said it’s possible the rekindle could have started somewhere between the garage and main portion of house.

“That’s where I saw the most of the flame.”

The North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross provided assistance with housing, food, clothing and comfort kits for Mrs. Guay, Karissa and her brother, Kyler, who is 15.

COURT DATE

Mr. Guay was arraigned before Chazy Town Justice Carolyn Mesick-Pratt and sent to Clinton County Jail in lieu of $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bail bond.

He remained in Clinton County Jail on Tuesday.

The State Police Troop B Forensic Identification Unit and State Police Violent Crimes Unit continued to investigate with assistance from the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office and the Clinton County Fire Investigation Team.

“The Cause and Origin Team was not able to get in (to the home) until late (Monday) afternoon after the State Police had secured a search warrant,” Laramie said.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT

Mr. Guay’s case has been moved to the Integrated Domestic Violence Court by order of Clinton County Judge Timothy Lawliss, said Assistant District Attorney Nicholas J. Evanovich III.

His next court appearance, originally set for Aug. 6, was moved to Aug. 5, said Evanovich, who could not comment on the specifics of the case.

Davison said Mr. Guay may face more charges, pending further investigation and evidence analysis.

HOME NOT HABITABLE

Laramie said that while the house is not a total loss, it is not habitable.

“It’s in pretty bad shape.”

The assistant chief said it’s difficult to tell whether it would be cost-effective to rebuild the home — it is a “toss up,” he said, as is the case with many structure fires.

The interior would have to be gutted and measures taken to remove the smell of fire from the home.

Mutual-aid departments were invaluable in quenching the flames both times, he said.

“I can’t say enough about the professionalism of not only the Rouses Point Volunteer Fire Department but also those (firefighters) from Champlain, Lacolle (Quebec) and Alburgh (Vt.) and the Mooers unit.”

Email Felicia Krieg:fkrieg@pressrepublican.comTwitter: @FeliciaKrieg