LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — A Lancaster County man was sentenced to 3.5 to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years of probation, after admitting to two incidents of arson.
Alvin F. Chambers, 32, of Maytown, pleaded guilty to two first-degree felony counts of arson of an inhabited building or structure, 11 second-degree misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering another person, two second-degree misdemeanor charges of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, two third-degree misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and two third-degree misdemeanor charges of loitering and prowling at nighttime on Sept. 2.
The charges stem from two separate incidents in which Chambers intentionally set fire to the same Lancaster apartment complex in the 500 block of Poplar Street.
The first bout of arson took place on Jan. 4 around 6:42 a.m., when police were dispatched to the building for a fire burning in the yard that was starting to ignite a home.
The next day, Chambers set fire to the balcony of a second-floor apartment in the same building in the early hours of the morning, around 4:38 a.m.
The Lancaster City Fire Department Marshall responded to both fires and found that the fires were deliberate and incendiary in nature.
Chambers was identified as a suspect when one of the victims, who had previously met him through an online dating site, recognized him in the area. Video footage from local businesses and homes also placed his vehicle in the area at the time of the fire.
Officers spotted Chambers in a car near Laurel and Lafayette Streets a short time after the second fire was discovered. The accused fled at a high rate of speed and avoided arrest at that time.
After a warrant was issued for Chambers' arrest, he called a detective and admitted to the crimes.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Fetterman asked the judge presiding over the case for a state prison sentence, citing that there were children sleeping in one of the homes Chambers set on fire. Defense counsel argued to keep the defendant in county prison.
Chambers was sentenced to state prison.