Upper Yoder fire

West Hills Regional police and area firefighters gather near the scene of a late-night fire Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Upper Yoder Township.

A woman pulled from her burning home in Upper Yoder Township last month has died, and her husband has been charged with criminal homicide, authorities said.

Cambria County detectives charged Gregory Z. Clem, 64, who was arraigned Wednesday.

Detectives allege that Clem set fire to the couple’s home in the 3300 block of Menoher Boulevard on Aug. 24.

Sheila A. Clem, 59, was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital, where she died Saturday. Investigators said that Gregory Clem admitted to setting a table on fire inside the home.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Sheila Clem and her family during this terribly tragic and sad time,” District Attorney Greg Neugebauer said. “My office is committed to prosecuting domestic violence and seek justice in all cases.

According to a criminal complaint, a fire broke out at 10:18 p.m., trapping the woman inside.

The woman called 911, saying her husband had set the fire.

Firefighters found the woman against the wall inside the home “gasping for air, suffering from severe burns all over her body,” the complaint said.

Sheila Clem was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, in Johnstown, and then airlifted to a burn unit in Pittsburgh.

The woman was placed on a ventilator with second- and third-degree burns covering 85% of her body, the complaint said.

Clem later told authorities that he told his wife to get out because he was going to burn down the house.

Clem said he “did pour gasoline on the dining room table and did light it,” the complaint said. Clem stated that he did not know if Sheila Clem was still in the house when he started the fire.

The Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death to be sequelea of thermal and inhalation injuries. The death was ruled homicide.

Clem also faces arson, aggravated arson, causing a catastrophe and reckless endangerment charges. 

Clem was arraigned by District Judge Susan Gindlesperger, of Stonycreek Township, and is being held without bond in Cambria County Prison.

The investigation included state, county and local authorities, Neugebauer said. 

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

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