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Clarion Woman Arraigned on Arson Charges After Fire in Apartment Building

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 07:05 PM

Posted by Joanne Bauer

image (25)CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A Clarion woman was arraigned on Wednesday afternoon on felony arson and other charges stemming from a fire that occurred at an apartment building in Clarion on May 3.

According to court documents, the Clarion Borough Police Department filed the following criminal charges against 29-year-old Danielle Marie Seidle, of Clarion:

- Arson-Danger Of Death Or Bodily Injury, Felony 1
- Aggravated Assault, Felony 2
- Risking Catastrophe, Felony 3
- Criminal Mischief/Damage Property Intent, Reckless, Or Negligent, Felony 3
- Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2 (two counts)

Details of the Case:

Authorities Dispatched to Fire at North 4th Avenue Apartment

According to a criminal complaint, around 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, 2018, Officer Kemmer received a call from Clarion County Control to respond to a residence on North 4th Avenue for a report of a house fire.

The complaint states that Officer Kemmer arrived on scene and could see flames coming out of an upstairs apartment window, along with flames coming out of the roof.

According to the complaint, Officer Zerfoss cleared the other apartments of the building to make sure no one was inside the building. The only people home at the time were the first-floor tenants directly below the apartment where the fire was visible.

Clarion Fire and Hose Company No. 1 arrived on scene and began to put the fire out.

Officer Kemmer Interviews Tenants

Once Clarion Fire was on the scene, Officer Kemmer began to interview the first-floor tenants who were home at the time of the fire. Officer Kemmer first spoke with a known female tenant who stated she was at home lying on the couch when her boyfriend told her that they needed to get out of the apartment as the upstairs apartment was on fire. She then stated that both she and her boyfriend ran outside and could see that the upstairs apartment had flames coming out of the windows. She stated that she does not know the female who lives in the apartment, as she just moved in a couple of days ago.

Photo by Ron Wilshire.

Photo by Ron Wilshire.

Officer Kemmer then spoke with a known male tenant who stated that he was in the kitchen when he heard glass breaking. When he looked out the kitchen window, he could see a lot of smoke and fire coming from the upstairs apartment. He then told the female tenant that they need to get out as the building was on fire.

After speaking with the two downstairs tenants, Officer Kemmer searched for more witnesses, but could not find anyone else who was home at the time.

According to the complaint, approximately 30 minutes later, Officer Kemmer was standing on Ridge Road next to the female tenant when she tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to a white female walking on North 4th Avenue towards Ridge Road. She stated that this was the person who lived in the apartment that was on fire.

Officer Kemmer Interviews Danielle Seidle

Officer Kemmer walked over to the female and asked her if she lived in the apartment that was on fire. The female, who was identified as Danielle Marie Seidle, said yes. Officer Kemmer asked Seidle if she was home at the time the fire started, and she said no. He asked Seidle if she remembered leaving anything on or knew what may have caused the fire, and she said no. He asked her what time she left her apartment and where she was at the time of the fire, and Seidle stated that she left her apartment at approximately 1:00 p.m. and that she walked to her grandmother house.

Officer Kemmer asked Seidle where her grandmother lives, and she told him “up the street.” He then asked Seidle what her grandmother’s name was, and at first, Seidle stated that she could not remember but later gave a name.

Officer Kemmer noted that while he was speaking with Seidle, she seemed confused, as she could not remember things and was giving him a blank stare.

Seidle’s Grandmother Arrives at the Scene

After speaking with Seidle, Officer Kemmer had her sit on the front porch of the residence, and approximately ten minutes later a known woman, Seidle’s grandmother, arrived at the scene. Officer Kemmer spoke with the woman and explained the incident to her and told her that Seidle seemed confused. The woman told Officer Kemmer that Seidle had some mental problems and she was just released from a psychiatric center on Friday, April 27.

The woman spoke with Seidle for a short period of time and then requested that Officer Kemmer contact Center for Community Resources Crisis Services as Seidle was “not acting right,” and her grandmother believed that she had not been taking her medication.

Officer Kemmer then contacted Crisis Services, who advised him that they were sending a person to the scene.

Seidle Allegedly Admits to Grandmother That She Set the Fire

While waiting for Crisis Services, Seidle’s grandmother sat with Seidle and asked her questions about the fire. After speaking with Seidle, the woman walked over to Officer Kemmer and allegedly stated that Seidle just admitted to her that she set the fire. The woman stated that Seidle told her that she placed several pieces of paper in a trash can and took a lighter and lit the paper on fire. She stated that Seidle told her that she then placed the trash can under the coffee table and left the apartment. She said that Seidle told her that she does not know why she did this, according to the complaint.

Officer Kemmer then walked over to Seidle and again asked her about the fire. Seidle stated that she does not know what caused the fire and that she did not set it.

Clarion Fire Chief Contacts Fire Marshal

In the meantime, Fire Chief Preston stated that he had contacted the Fire Marshal, and Trooper Watters was on her way to the scene.

Mental Health Warrant Issued for Seidle

A known individual from Crisis Services then arrived on the scene, and Officer Kemmer explained the incident to him and that Seidle admitted to her grandmother that she had set the fire. The Crisis Services worker then spoke with Seidle and at 2:35 p.m., a mental health warrant was issued for Seidle.

Criminal Investigator (Fire Marshal) Watters arrived on scene and also interviewed Seidle. After Trooper Watters was done interviewing Seidle, Officer Zerfoss transported Seidle to the Clarion ER, for medical treatment.

Seidle Bites ER Doctor, Transported to Psychiatric Hospital

According to the complaint, while at the Clarion Hospital ER, and while receiving medical treatment Seidle bit a doctor in the right arm, causing an injury. Seidle was later transported to a Psychiatric Center in Erie.

Fire Marshal Determines Fire Was Arson

On May 10, 2018, Officer Kemmer received Trooper Watters fire investigation report. Based on the scene examination and information, it was determined that within a reasonable degree of certainty, the fire originated in the center of the living room area and was caused by an intentional act which constitutes the crime of arson.

Trooper Watters report also states that Seidle’s grandmother began questioning Seidle about the fire in front of her. Trooper Watters reported that Seidle told her grandmother that she had started the fire in a garbage can with a lighter, and the fire spread to the coffee table and the smoke got very bad.

Officer Kemmer Asks Court for Arrest Warrant for Seidle

Based on his investigation, Officer Kemmer requested an arrest warrant to be issued for Danielle Seidle.

She was arraigned at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, in Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn’s office.

Unable to post $25,000.00 monetary bail, she was lodged in the Clarion County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, May 22, with Judge Quinn presiding.

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