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Frostburg Woman Charged After Backyard Fire

May 4th, 2022 by WCBC Radio

A Frostburg woman has been charged with malicious burning after she intentionally ignited a pile of wood fencing on fire that did not belong to her on Monday afternoon. Just before 4:00 p.m. on May 2, 2022, Frostburg Fire Department and Frostburg City Police Department were dispatched to 189 East Main Street for a reported fire. When police officers arrived, Darlene D. Szlama, 63, told them she intentionally lit the remains of her landlords' fence on fire after observing centipedes inside the wood and believed they would eat her dog. Szlama was later taken to UPMC Western Maryland by Allegany County Emergency Services for a medical evaluation.

Deputy State Fire Marshals served Szlama today after charging her with Second Degree Malicious Burning. Szlama told investigators she had asked her landlord multiple times to remove the wood and that before the fire, her dog's leash got caught on it, exposing a nail. She stated she hammered the nail back in with a rock when she saw the centipede. She then described how she set the fire.

A court date has not been set, but if convicted, Szlama could face up to 18-months in jail or a $500 fine.