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Adams woman charged with arson in February fire

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ADAMS — A 68-year-old woman faces arson charges, accused of burning her house and causing extensive damage to a neighboring duplex in a downtown Adams fire in February that left five people homeless.

Cynthia A. Smith was charged Thursday by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department with third-degree arson and first-degree reckless endangerment, both felonies, and misdemeanor criminal mischief. She turned herself in at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building, Watertown. She was arraigned in Lorraine Town Court and released on her own recognizance to return to court Nov. 12.

She is accused of setting fire to her single-family home at 24 Grange Ave. on the afternoon of Feb. 2. The flames spread so fast that they jumped over a driveway and another 20 feet to extensively damage the duplex at 22 Grange Ave. Mrs. Smith’s 90-year-old house was left a charred mess, with much of the exterior gone on one side.

She was taken to Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, for unspecified treatment. The tenants in the neighboring house evacuated safely.

The duplex is owned by Lisa Ann Levely, LaFargeville, according to the Jefferson County Real Property Tax Services website. Both damaged structures remain standing. It remains unclear when, or if, they might be torn down.

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