Deputy Fire Marshal testifies during second day of Doran trial

Posted at 2:41 PM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 16:41:17-04

The trial for Daniel Patrick Doran, who is charged with arson and theft in connection with a house fire that happened in January 2016, continued at Cascade County Courthouse on Tuesday morning.

Great Falls Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Ron Martin was back on the stand.

Martin said GFFR found the fire suspicious after completing the scene dig.

He also stated that GFFR did not know when the fire actually started.

Forensic Electrical Engineer Jeff Sellon, who became involved in the investigation in the fall of 2017, took the stand next.

During his investigation, Sellon found the fire did not start from any electrical wires in the home.

The trial is expected to wrap up Friday.

(October 28, 2016) Daniel Patrick Doran has been charged with arson and theft in connection with a Great Falls house fire that happened in January 2016.

The fire happened on January 15th at 4901 3rd Avenue South.

The house had been vacant for several months after the owner passed away, and family members – including Doran – had been trying to sell the house, along with a "significant amount of artwork" inside the home.

Court documents say that investigators determined that the fire had started in a bedroom, but found no objects inside the room capable of starting the fire, but did find the presence of ignitable fluid. Investigators also noted the house had no signs of forced entry. 

Doran was one of only three people that had access to the house.

After the fire, Great Falls Fire Rescue received a phone call from a person determined to be a reliable source who claimed that Doran had set the fire, and that he had set fires in the past when he needed money, according to court documents.

The caller also provided investigators with information about a previous attempt to set the house on fire, stating that several weeks earlier, there was cardboard and a lamp set up in the basement of the house in an apparent attempt to start a fire.

Law enforcement officials confirmed that Doran was linked to at least one other fire investigation in Great Falls.

When questioned, Doran told authorities that he had been in Helena when the fire broke out. 

Court documents state that Doran checked in to a Helena hotel on the evening of January 14th, and checked out at about 9 a.m. on January 15th.

Detectives then obtained cell phone records for Doran, which showed that his cell phone was "pinging" off of towers in Helena at around 11:05 p.m. on January 14th. At about 12:50 a.m. on January 15th, Doran’s cell phone began to ping off of towers just outside of Great Falls. Phone records then showed Doran’s phone pinging off of towers all the way back to Helena at 1:44 a.m.

Court documents state that video surveillance from several businesses near the house show a dark-colored truck consistent with Doran’s vehicle at about 12:34 a.m. on January 15th.

Doran is charged with one felony count of arson, and one felony count of theft.

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