The New Berlin woman who called 911 and alerted neighbors to a fire inside their apartment building last week ignited the blaze herself, according to arrest papers.
Haley Boney confessed to lighting a child’s blanket on fire inside a bedroom closet Wednesday at 201 Vine St., New Berlin, Union County, arrest papers state.
State police say Boney committed arson, risking the safety and lives of her own infant daughter and that of four other tenants home at the time as well as firefighters dispatched to extinguish the blaze, arrest papers state.
Trooper Kirk Renn, deputy fire marshal, state police at Milton, arrested Boney on three arson charges plus criminal mischief and endangering the welfare of children, all of which are felony counts, along with a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of others.
On-call District Judge Lori Hackenberg, of Middleburg, arraigned Boney on Sunday afternoon. Hackenberg ordered Boney be held in Union County Prison, Lewisburg, on $2,500 cash bail.
Firefighters from New Berlin and Mifflinburg were among the first responders who rushed to the Vine Street apartment building following the report of a fire about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. The building has four units.
Firefighters worked quickly to put out the fire and limited damage to the closet and bedroom of Boney’s apartment. Renn estimated damages at $5,000 to the building owned by Eric Kuhns whose father, Joseph, has power of attorney while his son is living in Honduras.
Renn investigated at the request of New Berlin Fire Chief Tim Shaffer and found no evidence the fire’s cause was accidental, arrest papers state. He interviewed Boney on-scene Thursday morning.
According to arrest papers, Boney said she laid her 7-month-old daughter down for a nap, took out a bag of garbage and in doing so noticed a wisp of smoke but saw nothing further. She returned inside and sat on a couch before smoke detectors activated and led her to discover a fire in the bedroom. Boney said she grabbed her child, called 911 and alerted a neighbor, arrest papers state.
The Daily Item spoke with Boney on scene as firefighters cleared water-soaked debris from her apartment. She repeated similar details.
"It was the scariest thing in my life so far," Boney said.
An upstairs neighbor, Taylor Delsite, told The Daily Item she was glad Boney alerted her and her 2-year-old daughter to the blaze because she had no idea there was a fire.
According to arrest papers, details shared by Boney largely remained unchanged except for one major detail when Renn again interviewed her late Thursday afternoon at a public park in Shamokin Dam near the Susquehanna River.
Renn said Boney confessed to lighting the fire herself in her son’s bedroom. The boy wasn’t home at the time. Her daughter laid in adjacent room as the fire spread before Boney acted to exit, arrest papers state.
Other tenants home at the time of the fire were Michael Oldt and his son, Nicholas. One of the apartments was vacant, according to state police.