MOUNT CARMEL -- A 13-year-old from Mount Carmel faces arson charges after police said he admitted Sunday night to setting a vacant building on fire. A 12-year-old is also in trouble.
Some people who live in Mount Carmel would like to see the vacant building on North Chestnut Street torn down, because they see people coming and going frequently. Police said two children were in the basement of the building Sunday night, and one started the fire to keep warm.
There was smoke and water damage at this building on North Chestnut Street, in Mount Carmel. Police said two children, 12 and 13 years old, were inside the building, and one of them set a blanket on fire to keep warm. The fire quickly spread and the kids ran to Jennifer Bozza's house.
"Sitting on my couch, my door opened up. A boy yelled in, can I use your phone? He was all in a hurry. I said, excuse me, no you may not," Bozza said.
Bozza later found out, one of the boys admitted to setting fire to the basement of the vacant building. He was arrested and charged with arson. The other boy was accused of trespassing. Bozza's daughter, Gabriella was outside walking their dog when the building caught fire.
"I smelled something and I thought maybe somebody was cooking on a grill or something. Then I walked by and saw all the smoke coming out of the house," Gabriella Trocki said.
Police said the building had been vacant since 2010, when another fire heavily damaged it. Neighbors said they would like to see the building torn down because there are always people coming in and out of it, and the doors and windows always seem to be open.
"Until they get it down I'm afraid it's going to keep happening," Bozza said.
"If there's a kid in there and he falls through the floor, who is going to know," asked David Bucher.
Police said the building cannot be torn down until it is sold. The property is on the tax sale list in Northumberland County, but it was not sold at the most recent tax sale. Neighbors said this fire is one of several recent ones in their neighborhood in Mount Carmel, which makes them nervous.
"I'm really scared because it's just happening all the time. There's never a time when I don't hear the alarms and stuff," Debra Marge said.
Mount Carmel police said a 12-year-old boy will also face trespassing charges in connection with Sunday night's fire. Officials said the building on North Chestnut Street will be boarded up. No word on if or when the building will be torn down.