Altoona man found guilty of setting fire in Philipsburg

Erick Karlson
Erick Karlson

An Altoona man has been found guilty of felony charges after setting fire to his former landlord’s basement in Philipsburg last year.

The 73-year-old owner of a residence at 1401 E. Presqueisle St. reported seeing Erick Karlson, 43, arrive at that address through the rear of the building, which gave Karlson access to the basement. Karlson left the residence in his pickup truck a few minutes later while yelling obscenities at the owner.

The owner entered the basement and found a large fire, which he was able to extinguish. State police at Philipsburg determined Karlson used gasoline to intentionally start the fire.

The Centre Daily Times previously reported the owner said Karlson had visited his residence to talk to him, but he was not home. The owner’s wife relayed the message that Karlson said he would see the owner the next day.

Damage to carpeting and air conditioners from the fire cost about $700.

The jury deliberated for about an hour before delivering the guilty verdict.

Karlson was found guilty of one count of burglary, one count of arson (inhabited building or structure, one count of criminal attempt (arson) and one count of risking a catastrophe, which are all felonies. He was also found guilty of one count of possession of an instrument of a crime, which is a misdemeanor.

District Judge Jonathan Grine dismissed one count of criminal mischief.

His sentencing is scheduled for April 12, which is exactly one year since the fire.