ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — An Altoona woman is facing charges after police say she started a fire in a trash can that damaged the side of the Dairy Queen Grill & Chill at an Altoona shopping center.
Cynthia Anthony, 40, was found at the Dairy Queen in Logan Centre, Logan Township Sunday night just after midnight when police were called to a commercial fire. Anthony was one of the people who reportedly called 9-1-1 after she tried to put the fire out with a rug and it only got worse.
Once on the scene, Logan Township police say they found Anthony with suitcases and bags outside of the DQ and were able to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher from a cruiser. When questioned, she reportedly told police there was a small fire in the trash and she was going to use coffee grounds to try and put it out but was afraid it would be like “a gun going off.” She then used a small rug that only made it worse by also catching fire.
Police noted that every time they asked how the fire got started, Anthony would change the subject or flat out say she can’t tell them. According to a witness, Anthony had admitted on the phone that she had started the fire and needed someone to come pick her up.
The damage to the outside of the DQ building was minimal, estimating around $5,000. Altoona Fire inspected the building to assure no other fire would start overnight.
Anthony is now facing felony causing a catastrophe and felony criminal mischief charges. She was placed in Blair County Prison on $7,500 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 23.