WEST CHESTER, PA — A Pottstown woman, Toni Kirk, 33, has been sentenced to 10-20 years in prison for igniting a devastating fire at the Ashwood Apartment complex in North Coventry, Chester County, back in July 2020. The sentencing was announced on December 6, 2023, by Judge David F. Bortner of the County Court of Common Pleas.
Kirk was convicted of aggravated assault, causing and risking a catastrophe, and related offenses in October 2023. The blaze resulted in over $6 million worth of damage, affecting more than 100 residents who lost their homes, personal belongings, and pets.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan commented on the case, stating, “The defendant’s reckless behavior caused devastation to over 100 innocent people. More than 200 first responders assisted and some sustained serious injuries. We are thankful to all of the first responders who risked their lives during this horrific incident.”
On the evening of July 30, 2020, a fire was reported at around 7:21 p.m. in apartment #315 at the Ashwood Apartment Complex. North Coventry Township Police Department (NCPD) and the Norco Fire Department responded to find fire and smoke within the apartment. Kirk, the sole occupant of the apartment, was found outside, uninjured, but under the influence of drugs.
Chester County Chief Fire Marshal John Weer determined that the fire originated in the living room of apartment #315, specifically on or near the bed. The fire was ruled as incendiary.
Several victims required hospitalization due to injuries sustained from the fire, with two individuals being seriously injured. Over 200 fire and EMS personnel, including 16 fire companies from Chester, Berks, Montgomery, and Delaware counties, responded to the scene.
Investigations were conducted by NCPD, the Chester County Fire Marshal, PSP, and the Chester County Detectives. ADAs Jessica Acito and Kaitlyn Michalek were the assigned prosecutors.
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