AUBURN | Deborah Salmon was not pleased with her life.

So, finally fed up with what seemed like an impossible situation, Salmon lit two fires in the basement of her father's residence on May 12, setting the place she called home ablaze.

Soon after, Owasco Elementary School staff reported smelling smoke in the area. While patrolling the area, Owasco Fire Chief Angelo Messina drove past 70 Adams Ave. and noticed smoke curling out of the home's chimney, a strange sight to see near the end of spring.

Deeming the smoke suspicious, Messina entered the Owasco residence and rescued an unresponsive Salmon from the smoke-filled home. The 49-year-old Auburn woman was rushed to a Syracuse hospital, where she became alert and started speaking.

When describing her actions to Judge Thomas Leone Thursday morning in Cayuga County Court, Salmon pointed to her mindset the afternoon of the blaze.

"I was very upset at the time with how my life was going," she said.

In exchange for a promised sentence of five-years probation, Salmon pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson, a felony, agreeing to undergo mental health counseling and complete an undetermined number of hours of community service.

Although she escaped the fire relatively unscathed, her father's home wasn't so lucky. To repair the damage, Salmon, per the terms of her plea deal, agreed to pay $58,444.88 restitution.

Also in court:

• After James Workman finishes seven years in prison for setting a home ablaze, the Union Springs man will have 10 years to pay for his destructive act.

Workman, 24, was sentenced to spend 2 1/3 to seven years in prison for stealing scrap metal from a Union Springs residence and later setting the home on fire to cover his tracks. When he finishes serving time for his third-degree burglary and third-degree arson conviction, Workman will have one decade to pay $77,817.60 restitution.

Although the defendant declined to speak, District Attorney Jon Budelmann referenced statements made by Workman to probation officers during a presentence investigation.

"The defendant said it was a stupid thing to do," Budelmann said. "It was certainly a dangerous thing to do."

• A 19-year-old Cortland man received shock probation for breaking into three different Sempronius buildings last summer and stealing scrap metal.

Ryan Durkee, of 19 Elm St., was sentenced to six months in the Cayuga County Jail and five years of probation for three counts of felony third-degree burglary. Leone also ordered the defendant to pay $10,106.99 restitution.

Budelmann said he believed time in jail would benefit Durkee.

"He needs some supervision for better decision making," the DA said.

• A Lakeview Correctional Facility inmate faces up to four more years on his current sentence after admitting he possessed a slashing-type weapon while incarcerated at Cayuga Correctional Facility.

Hubert Wiggs, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree promoting prison contraband, a felony. He is currently serving three years in prison for possessing a controlled substance and attempting to illegally possess a weapon.

• Sid Harrison, 33, of Whitney Ridge Apartments, Fairport, admitted selling $200 worth of cocaine to a confidential information. He faces two years in prison and two years of post-release supervision for his third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance conviction.

Staff writer Samantha House can be reached at 282-2282 or samantha.house@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at Citizen_House.

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