Judge denies request of boy in arson case to leave Northwestern
SUNBURY - A 13-year-old Mount Carmel boy charged with intentionally setting Sunday's fire at a vacant property at 207 N. Chestnut St., Mount Carmel, was returned to Northwestern Academy Wednesday afternoon after a judge denied his request to be released from the facility.
During a legal proceeding closed to the public, Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage ordered the youth to remain detained at the Coal Township juvenile facility until an adjudication hearing is held within the next 10 days.
A juvenile petition was filed by Mount Carmel Patrolman Jason Drumheller against the teen, charging him with felonies of arson and risking a catastrophe, and misdemeanors of reckless endangerment, criminal trespass and tampering with evidence.
Police said a 12-year-old male who was with the teen and has cooperated in the investigation will be charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
The 5:30 p.m. fire heavily damaged the basement.
An adjacent former apartment building on East Avenue was gutted by fire in 2010.
Chief of Police Todd Owens said the teen, who was taken into custody at the scene, admitted setting a blanket or curtain on fire in the basement with a lighter that he later buried along a railroad bed near the borough baseball complex. Police used a metal detector to find the lighter.
The police chief said the boy set the fire to stay warm.
Owens said both boys were seen by witnesses fleeing the scene of the fire shortly after heavy smoke was reported coming from the structure.