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Man charged in Oneonta fatal fire being released from jail

The fire, on Walling Avenue, at the end of 2018, killed a former Oneonta firefighter.

Posted: Feb 11, 2019 2:07 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2019 2:09 PM

ONEONTA, N.Y. -- The man arrested for allegedly setting fire to a home in Oneonta, may not have set the fire after all.

The fire, on Walling Avenue, at the end of 2018, killed a former Oneonta firefighter John Heller. 

Terrence Truitt, 34, is expected to be released from jail Monday. He was arrested on arson charges January 3.

Otsgeo County District Attorney John Muehl says they are looking at another individual, as the main suspect and says it would not be ethical to keep Truitt in jail.

“I’m not saying he's necessarily not involved, I’m saying that, I can't really, since it's a continuing investigation. I can't tell you exactly what the evidence we have is. I can simply say it would be improper for me to stand by and let him stay in jail at this point,” Muehl said.

Truitt's brother was previously named as a person of interest in the case. Muehl would not say if he is the suspect.

Heller was killed in the house fire saving his nephews and fiancée. He served as a firefighter from 2003 to 2009.

The DA is preparing a case to present to a grand jury in the next four to six weeks.

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