Mount Carmel teen adjudicated delinquent on arson charges
SUNBURY - The Mount Carmel teen charged with intentionally setting a fire March 17 at a vacant property in the borough was adjudicated delinquent on three criminal charges Thursday afternoon during a hearing before Judge Charles H. Saylor.
Northumberland County Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Willliam Rossnock said the 13-year-old boy was adjudicated on a felony count of arson (risking a catastrophe) and misdemeanors of reckless endangerment and criminal trespass. Two additional felony counts of arson (recklessly endangering a person and recklessly endangering property) were not prosecuted.
Being adjudicated delinquent in the juvenile court system is the same as being found guilty.
Rossnock said the teen, who had been detained in Northwestern Academy in Coal Township, has been placed on house arrest, where he will be monitored by juvenile probation officers.
A juvenile petition filed by Mount Carmel Patrolman Jason Drumheller initially charged the teen 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 at 207 N. Chestnut St., which is connected to a former apartment building at 301 East Ave. gutted by fire in 2010.
Mount Carmel 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.