Charges against Schuylkill Haven arson suspect held for county court

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Sep. 21—ORWIGSBURG — A man charged with setting a fire in Schuylkill Haven that destroyed one home and damaged another and several vehicles earlier this year had charges against him held for court during a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Kyle A. Shultz, 40, of 10 W. Penn St., appeared before Magisterial District Judge Andrew J. Serina.

The defendant faced two felony counts of arson-danger of death or bodily injury; one felony count each of arson-intent to destroy an unoccupied building, reckless burning or exploding and risking a catastrophe; three felony counts of criminal mischief; seven misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment; two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief; and one misdemeanor count of theft.

The charges were filed by Schuylkill Haven police Cpl. Greg Meisner.

After hearing testimony from Meisner, who told the court that Shultz was captured on security cameras in the area of the fire and subsequently identified by four people, Serina held all charges against Shultz to Schuylkill County Court.

In county court, Shultz can plead guilty or enter a not guilty plea and request a trial.

Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Julie D. Werdt, Meisner said his investigation determined that Shultz set the fire to an unoccupied home at 51 Grant St. around 12:50 a.m. July 13.

The fire destroyed that home and caused heat and smoke damage to 55 Grant St., leaving two adults, three children and a dog temporarily homeless, the officer said.

Meisner also testified that several vehicles parked nearby along Wilson Street sustained heat damage.

In addition to the property damage, two firefighters were injured; one was treated at the scene and the other taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Meisner said.

After the fire was extinguished, Schuylkill Haven fire officials, along with state police fire marshal Trooper John F. Burns of the Frackville station, determined the blaze was intentionally set on a sun porch, Meisner said.

Under cross-examination by Assistant Public Defender Christopher M. Riedlinger, Meisner said that although the face of the man in the security was not 100% visible, he was still positively identified as Shultz.

After the hearing, Serina continued Shultz's bail that was set at $250,000 straight cash.

The judge also told Shultz that he has a bail reduction hearing later this week in county court.

The arson arrest is not the only case Shultz is facing.

On Sept. 13, Shultz waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges that he made a sexually explicit video with a woman and sent it to the woman's daughter earlier this year.

In that case, Shultz was charged by Meisner with one felony count of disseminating sexually explicit materials with a minor; and three misdemeanor counts each of unlawful dissemination of an intimate image and selling obscene or sexual materials.

In paperwork filed with the court, Meisner charged Shultz with an incident that was alleged to have occurred about two weeks after the unoccupied home burned.