The Pennsylvania Senate has approved legislation to strengthen the state's arson laws and create a new crime of aggravated arson.
Under Senate Bill 1024, a person could be charged with aggravated arson if they intentionally start a fire with the intent to cause bodily injury, or set a fire knowing that someone was inside the property at the time.
The bill also increases penalties if anyone - including a firefighter, police officer or emergency responder - is injured.
Stronger sentences could also be imposed if more than three people were inside the property, or if the arson resulted in more than $1 million in property damage.
The legislation also clarifies that a convicted arsonist could be charged with second-degree murder if the fire unintentionally caused a person's death, and first-degree murder if the cause was intentional.