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Kidder honors officers for work in arson case

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    From left, Kidder Township Police Chief Matthew Kuzma, patrolman Michael Chica, patrolman John Pruitte and Sgt. Neil Yurchak. Kuzma presented the three with the Distinguished Service Medal for an arrest made in February. JUDY DOLGOS-KRAMER/TIMES NEWS

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    Kidder Township Challenge Coins were also given to the officers.

Published March 16. 2018 01:12PM

Kidder Township Chief of Police Matthew Kuzma and the board of supervisors recognized three township police officers Thursday for “going above and beyond” in the course of their duties.

On Feb. 10 Kidder Township Sgt. Neil Yurchak, and patrolmen John Pruitte and Michael Chica responded to a possible mental health/arson call in Holiday Pocono. While en route, a second call was received for a possible fire at the same location to which they were responding.

When the officers arrived at the home of Edith Keen, they witnessed smoke billowing out of the residence. Because the officers had been alerted that there were possibly children in the residence the officers, without regard for personal safety, entered the home a number of time to be assured that no one was inside.

The officers also extinguished the fire.

“Through an intricate investigation it was determined that the adult occupant intentionally set the fire with her children inside the residence,” said Kuzma.

Keen was arrested for attempted homicide near the scene and has since been imprisoned in the Carbon County Correctional Facility, where she is being held without bail.

The three were awarded the Distinguished Service Medal as well as a plaque and a challenge coin.

Police challenge coins are often given away by police departments as a token of appreciation and to boost morale.

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