Suspect facing murder charges in deadly house fire in Darby Township, Delaware County

The flames were so intense, firefighters had to evacuate the home two different times.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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Court records show a lengthy list of charges including murder and arson against 30-year-old Aaron Clarke.

DARBY TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A man is facing murder charges in connection with a deadly house fire that claimed the life of one person early Sunday morning.

The fire began just after midnight on the 600 block of Sharon Avenue in Darby Township, Delaware County.

According to court records, 30-year-old Aaron Clark is facing a long list of charges including murder and arson.

Police believe Clark did this in retaliation for his girlfriend ending their relationship.

Twenty-year-old Olivia Drasher, who had cerebral palsy, was trapped when Clark allegedly set the fire. She did not make it out of the home alive.

"This was probably the worst house fire I've seen and it breaks my heart that the young lady lost her life," said Tina Menginie of the Goodwill Fire Company.

Local fire companies are gathering donations for the family as the suspect remains in custody.

According to a GoFundMe page, Drasher's mother, who is a Philadelphia police officer, and Drasher's twin were able to escape unharmed.

Drasher's nurse escaped with injuries; her older sister was not home at the time of the fire.

According to sources, investigators believe Drasher's older sister ended a relationship with Clark. They say he knew his ex-girlfriend was not home at the time of the fire but was aware her two sisters were inside.

And that afternoon he allegedly threatened his ex-girlfriend, telling her he would post compromising photos of her on social media.

The GoFundMe page also states that the victim's older sister had sought help from local police and the postal police where she works.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer spoke to 6abc on Monday. Clark was already in custody on unrelated charges and they were gathering evidence to charge him for this crime.

"This was an intensely evil act," Stollsteimer said. "A criminal act like this that involves fire makes it that much more difficult for investigators, so we have to bring in the fire element as well as the motivations of people and who could have done what."

Firefighters had to leave the home twice due to the intensity of the blaze.

Additional details about the fire will be released during a news conference on Wednesday.