Woman arrested in Monongahela arson

April 1, 2014
Sarah Maloni

A Canonsburg woman was arrested Monday morning by Monongahela police after she allegedly set a fire inside the holding cell where she was placed after being picked up for public drunkenness.

Sarah Maloni, 47, of 164 Valley Road, reportedly used a lighter to set fire to some of her clothing that she removed while in the cell, said police Chief Brian Tempest.

A guard who was watching the holding cell through a television monitor quickly spotted the fire and it was extinguished.

Tempest said the department’s initial contact with Maloni was about 2 a.m. Monday when they received a report of a woman who was shot in the abdomen near the intersection of Route 88 and Washington Avenue in Finleyville.

When a crew from Peters Township Ambulance arrived, they advised police that she had not been shot.

Police arrived and found Maloni highly intoxicated. She was charged with public drunkenness and taken to the police station in Monongahela.

Two hours later, she started the fire.

Tempest said she had a lighter hidden somewhere on her person.

Tempest said since no female officer was on duty, Maloni was asked to empty her pockets and her belt and shoelaces were removed before she was placed in the cell.

Maloni was not injured although the cell was damaged.

Maloni was arraigned before District Judge Mark Wilson on charges of arson, causing or risking a catastrophe and institutional vandalism.

She was placed in Washington County jail on $5,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for April 9 before Wilson.

A public drunkenness citation was filed against her at the office of District Judge James Ellis.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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