Truancy cases were pending before fatal fire
DANVILLE - Three truancy cases remain active against a mother whose three sons died in a fire in Rush Township April 4, according to court records.
Two of the cases were filed in Montour County and one in Columbia County, The (Sunbury) Daily Item reported this week.
The Danville Area School District filed the private criminal complaints against Christine A. (Hontz) Dissinger for unexcused absences for her son Ryan, 10, a student at Liberty Valley Intermediate School, who survived the fire. They were filed in the office of Montour County District Judge Marvin Shrawder. One citation was for 13 days of unexcused absences from the beginning of school through March 6. Another citation was for 1 and a half days of unexcused absence during the same time period.
Citations also were filed in the office of Berwick Area District Judge Richard Knecht against Dissinger. One remains active; it was filed March 13, according to records. A spokeswoman there said she found three files bearing the name of Dissinger in their office.
Danville District Superintendent Cheryl Latorre said the district has a truancy policy with procedures stating a doctor's note is required after so many days of unexcused absences.
"We can only report it. We report it to the district judge office and to children and youth," she said.
Daniel Gage Dissinger, 13, Gavin Arthur Dissinger, 7, and Arthur Willis Dissinger, 2, were killed when a 1:20 a.m. fire burned their rural home near Snydertown to the ground. State police fire marshal Kirk Renn, of Milton, ruled the cause and origin of the fire were undetermined, due to the amount of damage to the home.
Kristin Dissinger, 14, and Ryan jumped out a second-floor window and ran to a neighbor's house, from where 9-1-1 was called.
All five children reportedly were on the second floor of the home when the fire started, but Daniel, Gavin and Arthur Dissinger perished when they went downstairs or at least attempted to go to the first floor, Riverside Fire Chief Clifford "Butch" Kriner said last week.
He said another sibling, identified as Angel Dissinger, 4, was staying with a family friend.
Christine Dissinger was reportedly at work at the time at Thompson Mailing Corp. near Bloomsburg.
Her husband, Arthur W. Dissinger, the father of all the children except the 2 year old, died April 25, 2010, at the family's home in Schuylkill Haven. He was 60.
The Dissinger family had recently moved into the rented home, according to Kriner.