The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 2, 2012

Danville woman pleads guilty to burning cardboard inside apartment building

By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item

— DANVILLE — A borough woman pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering others related to setting cardboard on fire in the basement of her occupied apartment building.

Christine Renee Ahlum, 24, of Apt. 2 of 16 Bloom St., was placed on 18 months’ probation Thursday.

She told Columbia-Montour Counties President Judge Thomas James Jr. she is being treated for a bipolar condition and takes medications.

She faced a maximum of two years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

James also ordered her to pay a $300 fine, do 20 hours of community service and undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with treatment recommendations.

Danville police arrested her the day of the fire July 27 after she admitted to burning cardboard in the basement of the building. She told police she opened windows in the basement.

She didn’t tell police why she was doing the burning.

Area fire companies responded to the alarm in which smoke filled the front entrance and basement of the building.

Danville Fire Chief Don Lutz previously said if the fire had been left unattended, it could have spread to nearby tires and through a void in the floorboards.

The burning occurred in a metal fire pit, owned by another tenant and being stored in the basement at the time. Police said the fire pit was found below a natural gas line in the building.

Danville police initially charged her with arson, causing or risking a catastrophe and recklessly endangering others.

Ahlum was represented by Attorney Robert Marks Jr. Montour County District Attorney Rebecca Warren represented the commonwealth.