Pa. Homeless Man Ordered to Pay $16K Restitution

Aug. 26--WILKES-BARRE -- A homeless man accused of setting a fire that damaged a vacant house on Woodlawn Avenue in Dallas pleaded guilty to related charges in Luzerne County Court on Monday.

James Christopher Cummings, 27, pleaded guilty to reckless burning before Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr.

Dallas police said Cummings forced his way inside the vacant house and started a fire to keep warm on March 31. Cummings claimed he fell asleep and woke up after the fire had spread to an interior wall, according to court records.

Cummings left the house and called 911 from a payphone on Church Street.

A firefighter was injured while battling the blaze.

Sklarosky ordered Cummings to pay $16,570 in restitution to the property owner.

Cummings is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 14.

Copyright 2014 - The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.