Teen charged in Sunday MC arson
MOUNT CARMEL - Police have formally charged a 13-year-old boy with intentionally setting Sunday's fire at a vacant property at 207 N. Chestnut St.
The teen, who is scheduled to appear for a juvenile hearing in Northumberland County Court at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, has been charged with felonies of arson and risking a catastrophe, and misdemeanors of reckless endangerment, criminal trespass and tampering with evidence.
A 12-year-old male who was with the teen also will be charged in connection with the arson. Police said he has cooperated in the investigation and will not face the same offenses.
The 5:30 p.m. fire heavily damaged the basement at the vacant structure, which is connected to a former apartment building on East Avenue that 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.